PRINT Summer 1995


TODD HAYNES’ SAFE BEGINS at night in a Mercedes floating past manicured shrubbery and self-important gates. The emblematic star on the hood is a rifle sight, scoping suburbia’s upscale terrain. There is no gun beneath the seat, no hand roaming restlessly under a skirt, just the noiresque suggestion of such a melodrama at the end of the road. Beautiful music like breathing backwards accompanies this allegorical drive which is soon interrupted by a sneeze. With this slip—the first in a series of escalating symptoms, disaffected housewife Carol White (Julianne Moore), reveals the true nature of the film. In Safe, where most of White’s neighbors are, she no longer is, and thus no longer is herself.

Safe is what American Gigolo has become; Safe is where American Gigolo has gone. The hustler glamour of Paul Schrader’s erotogenic Los Angeles is affected and then dismembered in Haynes’ title sequence

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