Saturday, February 16, 2013
"Safe Haven" is not to be found just in a Harbor
Let me confess something from my warped mind. When I went to Regal Cinemas in Arlington VA to see “Safe Haven” (Lasse Halstrom’s new film), I asked for a ticket for “Safe Harbor” (actually a 2009 TV film) because of the “DMCA Safe Harbor” concept on the Internet. One could make a movie about that (and one may soon, given a recent tragedy). But what I found with “Safe Haven” was a pretty conventional romantic thriller, a rather formulaic concept, and pleasant for people who like coastal living (despite hurricanes). One film for comparison, in the 90s, is “Cape Fear”. This new film from Relativity Media (“I am Rogue”) is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, who says he really doesn’t write his novels for the movies with premeditation. (Yet Sparks has his own movie production company.)
As the film starts, Katie (Julianne Hough) is “escaping” from a domestic violence incident in Massachusetts (involving “rogue” cop husband (David Lyons), and gets set up in a tiny, toy-like “cabin in the woods” in the swamps near Wilmington (a movie making center) and Southport, NC. She quickly meets a store owner and fisherman, widower Alex (Josh Duhamel) with three small children.
It isn’t too hard to imagine a linear plot – the cop puts out a “wanted” notice and accuses her of a murder which did not happen. Then, in his rage, after getting fired, he drives down to the Carolinas to set up the final confrontation at a Fourth of July celebration. The film seems, in retrospect, like a chilling replay of a little bit of what just happened in California with fired LAPD copy Christopher Dorner, but here there is no written manifesto.
Katie has to keep a very low profile (no Facebook, please), and at first doesn’t like Alex’s calling attention to her. But Alex is an attentive father (as he needs to be), and another mysterious woman (Cobie Smulders) seems to be bringing together. To say more would provide a spoiler, but there is a touch of the supernatural. Maybe this is not quite “another Earth”.
The official site is here.
I guess this is a film about “family”.
Picture: near Elizabeth City, NC, Great Dismal Swamp (mine, 2011).