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Australian audiences first got a taste of the perverse universe of American indie filmmaker Todd...
Australian audiences first got a taste of the perverse universe of American indie filmmaker Todd Haynes with his warped debut Poison, before being hurled into his glam rock movie Velvet Goldmine. In between these two instant cult favourites, however, came a minor gem unseen in this country until now. Made back in 1995, the chilling and consistently creepy Safe not only shows some of the thematic seeds of suburban dissatisfaction that would take full bloom in Haynes' breakthrough film Far From Heaven, but also boasts a stunning turn from that film's leading lady Julianne Moore.
Set in the emotionally barren landscape of late eighties American suburbia, Haynes documents with cold, clinical precision the inexplicable physical breakdown of Moore's Stepford Wives-style housewife. Desperate for answers, she ends up at a clean living ranch-come-commune, convinced that she's "environmentally ill", a victim of the excesses of modern society.
Always a provocative and keenly visual talent, Haynes is at the top of his game here, delivering a bleak portrait of modern life with broad visual strokes and injecting every frame of the film with a creeping intensity and sense of doom. Symbolic and willfully obscure, Safe remains an absorbing picture-in-microcosm of a world slowly destroying itself.