REVIEW: Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour

Safe HarbourSafe Harbour takes things like “the past comes back to haunt you,” what-if statements, and the trickle down effect of decisions/actions and turns them on their head.
Told in four episodes, Safe Harbour feels like one beautifully long, cohesive film. In fact I thought it was a film when this project was first announced. And it’s something that I personally think everyone should see; especially Americans in our current climate.

The plot unfolds five years ago in 2013 when five Australians are on holiday heading to Indonesia. In the midst of their fun on the expensive yacht they’re on, they come across a boat filled with refugees who are looking to travel to Australia to start new lives for themselves. With the boat’s engine dead, they look for help from the Australians to have their plan come to fruition. But what should be a courageous act as the Australians decide to tow the refugees, takes a drastic turn when they come to find the rope connecting the refugee families to the Australians’ yacht has been cut.

Flash forward five years to present day and one of the Australians and captain of the yacht, Ryan Gallagher (Ewen Leslie), gets into a cab. The cab driver? Ismail Al-Bayati (Hazem Shammas), the main refugee we follow throughout the series. This happenstance (or is it?) turns into a reunion dinner between Ryan’s family and friends and Ishmail’s family. It’s quickly realized that this isn’t just a “walk down memory lane” for the Bayatis. Through this exchange and interviews with the police, Ryan’s family and friends soon come to find just what exactly happened that night the rope was cut, and who was responsible.

What I truly loved about Safe Harbour is that every character is flawed and is held responsible for the “rope cutting” incident. With the added element of switching between the past and present, the audience really doesn’t get a grasp of what happened until the end. For those that love mysteries and ‘whodunit’ type scenarios, this miniseries is for you!

As I mentioned above, every character is flawed; their lives are affected by this event in some way, shape, or form. From an acting standpoint, there is a breakout scene for everyone. I knew going into this that Phoebe Tonkin was going to be a favorite of mine, but Nicole Chamoun equally played with my heartstrings! What’s so great about this being a miniseries as opposed to a hour or so film, is that we understand their characters’ thought process and see who they were before/after these events. This allows for everything to nicely come full circle in the end. Safe Harbour will be one of those films/shows where you can’t get what occurs out of your head for days. It really hits home the idea that every action has consequences, and to empathize with those around you.

Safe Harbour is now streaming on Hulu in the States and can still be viewed on SBS’ site in Australia.

The trailer can be viewed below.