Newest Reviews
Mighty Wind, A
Man at the Top
Guru the Mad Monk
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
  Safelight Never Goes OutBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Tony Aloupis
Stars: Evan Peters, Juno Temple, Kevin Alejandro, Meaghan Martin, Christine Lahti, Ariel Winter, Will Peltz, Don Stark, Lee Garlington, Joel Gretsch, Ever Carradine, Jason Beghe, Matthew Ziff, Roma Maffia, Gigi Rice, Taylor Boggan, Joe Krieg
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Charles (Evan Peters) is a seventeen-year-old boy who is picked on at school because of his crippled leg, and it has made him withdrawn, though he does like to express himself with his hobby of photography which he is growing very adept at. To make ends meet and because his father (Jason Beghe) is suffering from a debilitating illness that sees to it he is exhausted almost permanently, Charles has a job at the local truck stop, serving customers but one person who also works there in a very different capacity is Vicki (Juno Temple) who is a prostitute for the passing truckers. One night he notices her outside and her pimp, Skid (Kevin Alejandro) pulls up in his car and starts smacking her around because he thinks she has stolen from him, so Charles goes to the rescue...

Not every movie has to be War and Peace, and Safelight, the debut from writer and director Tony Aloupis, was a slight affair that could have disappeared completely if it hadn’t been for a nicely observed relationship between the two lead characters. Much of this was down to the performances, and though Peters and Temple were older than the people they were playing, they worked up an understanding for what they must have been going through in this sort of nineteen-seventies landscape of nowhere in particular. That era, vague as it was (there were no signifiers as to what year it was supposed to be set in), informed the style and the premise.

That relied on our sustained interest more in the characters than their story, indeed it was more comfortable with scenes of them testing one another to find out where they stood with each other and how far they could open up emotionally. Charles has closed himself down somewhat, presumably as a self-preservation mechanism, but he is young enough to be optimistic, however guardedly. Vicki on the other hand, in spite of just being a year older, has given in to the stunted life she has landed herself in, repeating every day - or night, really - over and over and not believing anything will improve for her, which explains why she takes a shine to her knight in shining armour when he steps in that night.

We get the impression Charles is the first person she has made an effort to connect with as a friend for some time, and when he asks her about her existence so far she has a tale of woe to tell that must be familiar to many in her situation: neglectful parent(s), abusive partner of her mother when the father leaves the family to fend for itself, and hooking up with entirely the wrong guy when it gets too much and she decides to leave, hence the unsettlingly easy descent into prostitution. Temple could play this sort of role in her sleep, but invested Vicki with a genuine melancholy that allows itself to lift when she's with Charles; watch her reaction when she is asked to go out dancing by his kindly boss Peg (Christine Lahti).

All that said, Safelight barely lasted over an hour, making it a case of just settling down to get to know the folks we were growing to like and it was pretty much all over. When that state of affairs was drawing to a close with Charles and Vicki having fallen out, or rather she ran away from him when things got too fraught with bad memories for her to continue the friendship that was tentatively progressing to romantic affection, then you could really have done with a bit more time to wrap things up with a degree more attention than Aloupis was willing to deliver. Perhaps he didn't want to wear out his welcome, perhaps he felt after fulfilling the Chekov's gun promise of an earlier scene he didn't have anywhere left to go, but maybe the maxim always leave them wanting more wasn't such a bad thing here. You did worry that Charles and Vicki would not find their lives working out (she hasn't become involved with hard drugs, though you feel it's a danger with someone that fragile), but the story ended open to possibilities it could be fine after all. Music by Joel P. West.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1072 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: