Dave’s 7-Word Review:
Predictable and unpredictable at the same time
For men, it is becoming a nuisance, if it hasn’t already, for movies getting released that have a writing credit by Mr. Nicolas Sparks. Not only because these films are predictable, but because they are more than that. Every one of his films seems to be about the same thing told in a different setting with different actors. While the same can be said about his latest film, “Safe Haven”, it would be unfair, to say the least, not to mention that it is also equally unpredictable in other areas.
This film centers around the life of Katie (Julianne Hough), A.K.A. Erin, a woman who is on the run. It is pretty clear, albeit through quick flashes, that something violent has just happened, and the police are after her. She finds a life of solitude in Southport, North Carolina, where she befriends a man named Alex (Josh Duhamel) and his two children. At the same time, she has to keep her eyes on the lookout to make sure the police in her hometown, especially Officer Tierney (David Lyons), who has a special interest in her case, can’t find her. Obviously she falls in love somewhere along the lines, which if you have any idea about who Nicolas Sparks is, will know it goes without question on how the romance fits in.
This movie is obviously a Nicolas Sparks film; I will say that right off the bat. At the same time though, there is an element to the film that doesn’t quite feel like Sparks territory, as if he had help writing this book. There has been plenty of danger and even mystery in some of his other movies, but it was more about the structure of how the movie is displayed. For instance, any other Sparks film will have the relationship in the film integral to the movie, basically…everything that is shown in the relationship in order to show how real and undying it is…is actually important to the story. This film’s story was more important than the relationship, even though visually…it doesn’t seem that way. There was a bit more gushy scenes than the movie actually needed, that’s something uncommon for Sparks.
Secondly, there was a character in the movie that, while serving a purpose, was still completely unnecessary. In fact, this character feels so out of place, as if they don’t belong, that you may be able to pick them out right away. They helped complete the overall story…but could the story be done with the same results without them? Any way you look at it, the answer is yes. A lot of critics look at that and think it is preposterous, and in a lot of ways it is. I can’t say too much about this, as the movie is held pretty deeply in secrecy.
It’s not that Sparks didn’t get a good story here, because he often has the chops for a potential great, but he always drowns it out with too much of the romance, and he completely misses out on showing the real story, which sometimes is…actually impressive. A lot of his characters already have a connection with the audience, so that’s not what he has to worry about; he does have to worry about expanding the potentially great parts about the story.
As its own, this was one of Spark’s better flicks. Maybe not as good as “A Walk to Remember” or “The Notebook”, but it holds its own in certain aspects. I, for one, actually found part of the film unpredictable, and they deserve at least a pat on the back for that.
“Safe Haven” came to theaters on Valentine’s Day, check it out in theaters today before you miss the chance!