Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds are two of Hollywood's most watched, wanted and charismatic actors - put them on the big screen together, and watch magic happen. Enter ‘Safe House’. When bored “housekeeper” Matt Weston (Reynolds) is on assignment in Cape Town, South Africa, he gets his first “house guest” in the form of the most infamous, brilliant and dangerous ex-CIA agent-turned-traitor, Tobin Frost (Washington). He finally gets the opportunity to prove himself when the safe house is hit, and it’s up to Matt to not only lead himself and Frost to safety, but find out who it is that wants them dead and most importantly, why.
Thus begins a stunning ballet of smooth and elegant car chases, crashes and gun fights. The steady stream of action-packed scenes flow beautifully and seamlessly throughout the film, handled with utmost finesse by director Daniel Espinosa.
The script wound up on Hollywood’s infamous Black List, the best unproduced scripts in circulation - and there’s little doubt as to why. The “safe house” angle is original and highly compelling, along with its Cape Town setting (originally penned as Rio de Janeiro), while filled with the standard and much-loved subtleties of manipulation, double crosses, loyalty and issues of trust.
So we have the who, the where and the when. It’s the “why” where the film loses some of its footing. The character of Tobin Frost plays things very close to his chest, choosing to spend his time focusing on his young protégé Weston instead of clueing the audience in to his motives and goal. Weston’s determination to complete his mission and Frost’s mystery can only carry a film and an audience for so long. Their cat and mouse game, while looking good, gets old quickly without letting the audience in on the “play”.
The film is filled with the standard and much-loved subtleties of manipulation, double crosses, loyalty and issues of trust.
Washington and Reynolds are a match made in heaven, and will not disappoint. They’re backed by an equally talented support cast of Vera Farmiga (‘The Departed’), Brendan Gleeson (‘The Guard’), Sam Shepard (‘The Assassination of Jesse James’) and Robert Patrick (‘Terminator 2’).
With a great concept, engaging characters played by a fantastic ensemble cast and faultless non-stop action, this film is for anyone who loves big bangs, high speed and having their mind messed with. Trust no one.