I believe that there are certain films you watch because you are a fan of a particular actor. In this case, I found Safe (a 1993 episode of Screenplay) last year, when I wanted to see more of Robert Carlyle’s talent. The director is Antonia Bird and David M. Thompson is the producer. Let me tell you this right now: I highly recommend the film, but not to everyone. Keep in mind that it might leave you with a bitter feeling once it’s over.
You need a little over an hour to watch this, but it will stay with you for a long time. It didn’t win a BAFTA award for nothing, my lovelies. It takes the viewers on the street, showing glimpses of a life where mercy, kindness and happiness seem to be nothing but myths and empty words. If you lower the volume and watch the scenes without having a specific city in mind, you’ll realise that some aspects are quite familiar. Not because you’ve experienced them (hopefully), but because you’ve witnessed such events. Every culture (take any country or city) has a dark side many choose to ignore. But it won’t go away just because we might choose to overlook it.
Three characters will stand out in Safe: Kaz (Kate Hardie), Gypo (Aidan Gillen) and Nosty (Robert Carlyle). They are all caught in a world we always see from the corner of our eye. It’s there, tightly interwoven with what we’re used to, but often brushed aside. These characters are young, homeless and almost broken. Their lives go hand in hand with violence, drugs and abuse. All of them utter the word “safe” at one point, but… it’s meaningless, really. There’s no safety for them and what little they have can be taken away in an instant. Consciously or not, people and the environment are working against them and that is an aspect clearly emphasised throughout the episode.
Kaz wants to be normal… raped and abused, she would like to feel safe, to have people that would actually offer protection. There’s no affection or care coming from her family and her last scene is heartbreaking. Gypo can’t truly offer what she wants, especially since he depends on Kaz more than the other way around. There’s hatred coming hand in hand with this character, from within and from outside. They are alone and powerless. As for Nosty, we see him for a short period of time, just enough to have a look at his own life. He’s not as powerless as the other two, but what he gets always comes with a price. His actions and words cannot keep him safe for long periods of time.
“What I did was I went and slept rough for a week and ended up in some tricky situations. But it all paid off for me in terms of the performance. When I came back David Thompson the producer didn’t recognise me – he walked by me on the set. So I thought, I’ve got something here” (Robert Carlyle – source).
You can find Safe on youtube. Watch it whenever you can, just make sure that you’re not already in a bad mood. And once you’ve seen it, share your thoughts with us. Until later!
by Elena Atudosiei