Search
3D 80s Cinema Action Adaptation Adventure Age of Adaline aliens altzheimers amazon Amitabh Bachchan Animation anime Australian film AV Industry BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blake Lively Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Camille Keenan Cancer candyman cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch Christopher Nolan Comedy Coming-of-Age Crowd-sourced Cure Dakota Johnson Dardennes Brothers Deepika Padukone Depression Disney Documentary Dr Moreau drama Dustin Clare EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Epic Erotic Cinema Extreme Sports Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Fifty Shades of Grey Film Foreign found footage French Cinema Golan Globus green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Happiness Harrison Ford Harry Dean Stanton Hasbro Haunted house Hhorror horror Horror Film Housebound Idris Elba IMAX In Your Eyes Independent Indian Film Infini Internet Interstellar Iron Man 3 Irrfan Khan James Gunn Jamie Dornan Jeff Krulik Jennifer Kent John Cusack Josie Ho Joss Whedon kite Kristen Stewart Ladyhawke Latvian Cinema Liam Neeson Lord of the Rings los angeles Love & Mercy Making of Marion Cotillard Mark Hartley Mark Wahlberg Marriage Marvel MGM Michael Bay MIFF Minuscule Naked Ambition New Zealand Film Nuit de la Glisse NZFC Oscars Outback Ozploitation Pacific Rim Paper Planes Pet Sounds Piku Poltergeist Post-apocalyptic Quarantine Haunting Quarantine Station remake Research Retro Fashion Review Reviews Road Movie Robert Downey Jr Rocks in My Pockets Romance Rupert Sanders Russian Cinema Sci Fi Science Fiction Seth MacFarlane Shane Black Signe Baumane Slums Snow White Snowboarding Space Travel
« FOXFUR | Main | MY OTHER ME: A FILM ABOUT COSPLAYERS »
Tuesday
Feb122013

SAFE HAVEN

Stars: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons,  Cobie Smulders, Noah lomax, Mimi Kirkland, Ric Reitz, Cullen Moss, Robin Mullens and Red West.
Writers: Leslie Bohem and Dana Stevens; based upon the novel by Nicholas Sparks.
Director: Lasse Hallström

Rating: 2.5/5

“Nothing very much exciting happens, but it sure is beautiful,” utters our square-jawed leading man Josh Duhamel, and there is no more apt description of Safe Haven. Yet another bewilderingly bland late-career effort from the once important Lasse Hallström and his second adaptation of a Nicholas Spark’s novel, this Valentine’s Day programmer will earn serious points for patient boyfriends but in every other respect is slumber party home-video fodder.

Hallström’s melodrama is essentially a reworking of Joseph Ruben’s Sleeping With The Enemy, in which Julia Roberts flees a violent Patrick Bergen to start all over again in a small town with Kevin O’Connor, only to have Bergen reappear for a third act face-off. Roberts was a winning screen presence who drew audience empathy effortlessly (in what was an otherwise dire effort); Hallström is lumbered with the exceedingly pretty but one-note Julianne Hough as Katie, who we glimpse in flashback blood-stained and fleeing what appears to be a murder scene.

Clearly a strategic career move to alter perceptions regarding the young actress’ range after song-and-dance parts in Burlesque, Footloose and Rock of Ages, Hough’s greatest achievement is reminding audiences of Meg Ryan in her prime. Co-scripters Leslie Bohem and Dana Stevens struggle to give her anything remotely engaging to say, thereby relying upon the actress’ admittedly endearing physicality to convey character depth.

That said, her chemistry with the increasingly reliable Duhamel is solid, his single-dad Alex the film’s most fully realised character (though, it must be said, his wavy hair and tragic past is classic ‘airport-romance hero’). Acts 1 and 2 are almost entirely their burgeoning, getting’-to-know-you romance, which is cute but dry-docks any pretence of suspense or narrative momentum. The ‘Bergen’ is played by David Lyons, who nails ‘violent-drunk’ convincingly in flashback domestic scenes that are lit with unsubtle, Hostel-like darkness, but whose home-grown skills (NIDA, Class of 2004) can’t pull off some nonsensical police-procedural scenes that damages all sub-plotting credibility.

Support player Cobie Smulders impresses here to far less an extent than she did in The Avengers, her character’s very existence proving to be the films ultimate undoing (no spoilers, but….really?). The idyllic seaside village in which the action takes place is the film’s real star, its salty flavour and surrounding woodlands beautifully captured by DoP Terry Stacey. A heartfelt interlude in which Katie and Alex are caught in a bayou thunderstorm is lovingly rendered (author Sparks loves rain; remember The Notebook?), but it’s sweet romanticism only serves to highlight how lacking in that crucial component the film really is.

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Lyon France
    screen-space - Reviews - SAFE HAVEN
  • Response
    screen-space - Reviews - SAFE HAVEN

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>