Safe is a short film that explores the topic of gun violence in America and what goes through the minds of the victims in mass shootings.
Hello everyone, Kevin of Film Fervor here bringing you another Independent film review. Today we will be discussing the short film Safe written and directed by Mragendra Singh (Director of The Report) and Brendon Slee, Starring Clayton Hoff, Cyrus Soliman, Eva Ndachi, Mayuri Bhandari, Nora Frankovich and Ricky Wood. Safe was filmed for the 48 Hour Film Project, a contest for film makers to make their films in two days, and won a People’s Choice Award.
Safe is a politically inclined short film showing the dangers of gun violence in America. Set in an office building during a rage induced mass shooting shows a group of coworkers locked in a supply closet discussing the events leading to the shooting. The gun man had been fired for sexually assaulting a female coworker and returned to his former employer to get his revenge. One man leads the charge to give the gunman what he wants to spare the rest of them while others try to band together and stop the man from giving the young woman to the deranged killer.
Safe is a deeply polarizing film on issues of gun violence in the United States and showcases not only current media inspired epidemic of shootings but also a deep look into the human condition. It shows the split between the cowardly and brave natures that each of us have and what we are willing to do to survive. The film tries to empathize the fact that it is the gunman who is the danger but I feel the film’s aim is overshadowed by the moral choices of the victims instead of the gun toting madman that is never actually seen on camera save for in silhouettes.
Like Mragendra Singh’s other films the production quality on Safe is well above the standard fare for short low budget films. The camera work is smooth and clear even on a low resolution monitor as I have on my laptop and never really jars you out a scene even with it’s rapid movements between each of the six actors. The sound quality also is spot on and never breaks or stutters despite only having a two day window to film in and the ambient music is a high pitched droning that lends an air of menace to the film.
The Acting in Safe is where it slightly falls down. The unnamed ‘victims’ each come across as an overly used cliché ranging from the cowardly skinny little weasel of a man who is only out for himself to the brave woman trying to save everyone involved, neither of whom were very convincing in their performances. I’m not sure if it was the time constraints or just the tone of the film but none of the actors came across as actual people with real emotions. That said however the emotional reaction in the audience is very clear as you are left with a sense of loathing for the survivors instead of a sense of being in their place, at least form my point of view anyway.
The fact that Safe is shot in just one room for nearly the entirety of the five minutes and ten seconds run time lends a sense of claustrophobia to the film the really ratchets up the tension as you hear the sounds of screams and gunshots in the distance. The arguments of the six victims on how to survive the on going massacre is also a major source of anxiety that tries to make you identify with the victims and think about the choice you’d make in that situation.
Safe’s goal of warning against gun violence may put many people off the film but I recommend at least one look at the film for it’s over all quality in production and as an example of what you can do with just two days if you are dedicated. While the acting isn’t great and the goal of the film is overshadowed by the more human element of moral choices in a dangerous scenario I found it well worth the five minutes and ten seconds it took to watch the film. I give Safe three out of five stars.