“Safe House” is entertaining and engrossing. My expectations were low as friends I respect had not enjoyed it but I was pleasantly surprised. It grabbed me from the first frames.
This is a very traditional thriller with realistic fights, car chases that remind me of the best bit of “Bullitt” and a few explosions. If you want bigger and better CGI and 3D, go see another movie.
If you long for a return to simple and straightforward stories in film, this is for you.
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is bored. He is guarding a Cape Town, South Africa safe house for the CIA and he never has any house guests.
Then, rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) shows up. From that point on, it’s a buddy on the run movie through amazing city and country settings.
Jean Reno has a brief (too brief!) cameo and all the supporting cast are terrific. Vera Farmiga is almost as wasted as Jean Reno, but Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Ruben Blades and Fares Fares (no, I never heard of him either) all have distinctive moments.
Music and script both complement the movie. The credit crunch seems to be making for lots of co-productions and this is an intriguing mix of German funding and South African scenery.
It’s a very different Cape Town to the usual touristy backdrops and I liked the creative use of the football stadium and city chases combined with isolated rural settings.
Ryan and Denzel are very easy to look at and listen to so women should not assume this is just for the men. The gals were tellng the rather restless guys to “shush” at the Stratford Picturehouse.
If you want a couple of hours of twists and turns and fun acting, do see this. Daniel Espinosa’s sharp direction and David Guggenheim’s clever script keep the pace fast and I never looked at my watch at all. But I did have to “shush” two guys, who paid money to go to a cinema and then wanted to chat through the whole thing. Why?
Note to readers: If you just want to chat in the dark, stay home and turn your lights out. Please.