Review: This blandly predictable but well-meaning drama follows a teenage loner with a deformed leg, a passion for photography and a prostitute as his only friend. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
There are some characters for whom one wants to shake a fist at the heavens, protesting their unfair, excessive agony.
Charles (Evan Peters) is one such figure, a 17-year-old living in a late-1970s desert town in the touching if blandly predictable “Safelight.” Working the cash register at a truck stop managed by a brassy, surrogate aunt (Christine Lahti) while living with his dying father (Jason Beghe), Charles is a loner with a deformed leg, making him a target for bullies.
Despite the raw deal, Charles heroically defends a young prostitute, Vicki (Juno Temple), from her psychotic boyfriend (Kevin Alejandro), an act that earns him Vicki’s friendship but sets up an obvious, brutal climax.
Movie Review ★★
‘Safelight,’ with Evan Peters, Juno Temple, Christine Lahti, Jason Beghe, Kevin Alejandro. Written and directed by Tony Aloupis. 84 minutes. Rated R for language, sexual references, violence. Alderwood Mall 16.
Everything in writer-director Tony Aloupis’ “Safelight” feels telegraphed. Even Charles’ passion and hobby, photography, blatantly underscores his role in life as an arm’s-length observer.
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Vicki helps Charles be less reticent, and he encourages her to reconnect with the true self that has been obscured through turning tricks. Set against the monotony of arid land and small-town doldrums, Aloupis’ deliberate pace assures the reciprocity between these two characters flourishes logically.
It would just be nice if something in “Safelight” was not unsurprising.