Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Safe


This week's Hit me with your best shot takes us back to the 90s for a special film by Todd Haynes called "Safe". If you haven't seen it, quit reading now and go watch it blind. That's the approach I took and it was really eye-opening. The film follows Julianne Moore a suburban housewife named Carol, who becomes inflicted with a strange illness called multiple chemical sensitivity, where her body basically rejects all the synthetic chemicals in our modern environment. Her condition eventually gets to the point where she struggles to breathe. It's so horrifying that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

But even more fascinating than the disease, is the surprising direction of the plot. Living in the "Gone Girl" era and knowing Moore's predilection for playing dissatisfied housewives, I was initially expecting her to break free from her dull, seemingly "sterile" environment. Well, she does eventually escape, but for the exact opposite reason! I was really quite intrigued by this narrative, which lead me to my choice for best shot...

Click below for my favourite shot...




My pick for best shot comes at the very end of the film. At this point she has essentially quarantined herself to this stark, bare room and I found it so unsettling. As she sits down and puts on her mask, she turns to face the camera and seems to be addressing the audience. What I love about this script is how it seems to touch on so many of the sources of public panic that were prevalent around that time, including AIDS, climate change, pollution and technology. As a result, when Moore stares at us momentarily, she seems to pose many questions. Is this situation a true representation of freedom/happiness? Is she finally "safe", as the title suggests? Or is it a cautionary warning that society is heading down a bleak path? The many possible interpretations make me wish this was released today. I would love to read those think pieces.

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