S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(aka 'Chemical Syndrome')
Safe is about Carol White (Julianne Moore), a passive and
rather dull California homemaker who discovers that she's allergic to the 20th
century -- that she has Environmental Illness, a rare disorder afflicting people
who have a low tolerance for the thousands of daily chemicals and irritants that
most of us, by now, take in stride. This is an actual ailment, and though
Haynes' script follows something of a TV-movie disease-of-the-week trajectory,
he knows a ripe symbol of modern alienation when he sees one. Carol is like an
innocent alien, a cross between E.T. and David Bowie in
The Man Who Fell to
Earth, driven into seclusion by our intolerable atmosphere. She could
represent any number of other things, too (though Haynes has insisted that we
take her simply as a woman with a disease). Even her name carries associations
with Carol Brady and, of course, colorlessness. In an odd way, too, Carol is
linked to the Lily Tomlin character in, of all movies, the 1981 Joel Schumacher
comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman; Tomlin played an ordinary
housewife whose exposure to everyday household chemicals made her shrink, and
both movies share a certain anger about women who are victimized, marginalized,
and finally radicalized by their own consumerist culture.
Theatrical Release: June 30th, 1995
DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 4.67 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, None|
with director Todd Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and actress Julianne Moore
I have a section of my collection in an area I term 'Favorites'. There are maybe 100 discs there. I keep Safe there but realize I had not seen it in years. I re-watched it last night and it blew me away even more than it did a decade ago. I also listened, again, to the commentary. After I digested the experience, I checked to see if it had reached Blu-ray status anywhere in the world. It has not, yet. I did, however, notice that this DVD is out-of-print and fetching ridiculous prices ($187 in Canada!?!?).
The Sony is single-layered. Spoiled by 1080P the image seems very weak today. Colors are drab, it is not very sharp and indoor sequences appear greenish. The Stereo audio is unremarkable but consistent. The score by Ed Tomney works with the slow pans and background snippets of Madonna, George Benson, Belinda Carlisle help establish the banality - almost like Muzak. Good news that I don't see excessive manipulation and the image is fairly clean. There are optional subtitles on the region 1 NTSC, standard definition, disc.
The film is an absolute masterpiece - a contributing factor to the DVD's rare-ness and high price. Haynes has crafted a brilliant story - filling in details with subtle precision. Julianne Moore is one of my favourite actresses (What Maisie Knew, Chloe, Blindness, A Single Man, Magnolia, The Big Lebowski etc.) and this is one of her best roles, IMO. My point of this review is to encourage someone to get this film onto Blu-ray. How about Criterion? Anyone?
Gregory tells us in email: "Just wanted to update you on the status of Todd Haynes's film you just reviewed - Criterion already confirmed [safe] is coming to the collection at their 2013 Wexler talks in November." Woohoo!!