Safe House – Review

Safe House – Review

Review by FilmFellaJames

Ryan Reynolds is Matt Weston a young CIA agent in charge of a safe house, a place purpose built to contain baddies.  He is bored out of his mind as his daily function is simply maintaining the safe house and business has been slow, well, that is until he is charged with receiving Tobin Frost, a deadly fugitive played by Denzel Washington.  It’s at that moment that his mundane job jumps up a notch.  Shit hits the fan and the pair are bound together until Weston can get Tobin into the hands of his boss, David Barlow – Brendan Gleeson.

Tobin Frost is captured by the CIA and during his interrogation the safe house is besieged by 12 heavily armed blokes with bloody minded gun lust intent on retrieving what Tobin has, a list of very incriminating items that would put a lot of people in the shit.  We don’t know this of course until later on in the film, but honestly, it’s not a spoiler because as a movie, it’s altogether completely predictable anyway since the writing ain’t really clever enough to keep you guessing.  It’s an action fugitive film by the numbers.  Denzel and Reynolds escape and the chase is on.  The plot is obvious, the romance element is obvious, the twists are obvious and the ending is obvious.  The whole film is…you guessed it, obvious as fuck.

The narrative being so goddam predictable means that you don’t really go on a journey in this film, instead as an audience member your just sat watching blurry shit happen in front of you.  I was sat towards the back, yet, despite having a good view of the screen I felt nauseous all the way through.  The last time I felt like that was when I watched the Bourne Identity, however on that occasion I was much closer to the screen and despite hating it until it came out on DVD and I gave it a second watch.  The Bourne Identity however had something this did not.  It had skill and a great story.

Quite simply this film had all of the components to make a fantastic thriller of a film, a sentiment echoed in the trailer with Jay Z’s ‘No Church In The Wild’ resonating over the top of the action footage.  It had Denzel in it, which despite the fact that many of my filmfella comrades hate him, was an exciting lure for me because I think Denzel is the man.  I like Ryan Reynolds too.  So ultimately I must’ve liked it right?   WRONG.  This film stunk because the director was an over zealous ass clown who appeared to have shot everything, and I mean everything, while balancing on a beach ball.  The action was close and shaky all the way through, the edit was a shambles and it looked real untidy.  It was a Tony Scott film without any of the skill and timing Tony Scott employs and you know what?  Tony Scott utilises a very particular style, that should stand alone, unless your brave enough to manufacture that style to the same level as he, the master of shaky shit.  Unfortunately however Espinosa could not get a handle on any of it and I just hung my head in shame, because on this occasion, Denzel and his performance and Ryan and his charisma were overshadowed by what was a very messy and contemptible high speed blur of ass.

What angers me even more is that the movie was shot in my homeland, South Africa, yet, it could have been shot anywhere because the camera work was that unsympathetic and that claustrophobic that you never really got a good sense of the environment and therefore the peril that it offered for the two heroes while they were trying to evade their pursuers.

Brendan Gleeson was adequate but predictable as was Vera Farmiga.  Robert Patrick completely underused.  Sam Shepard’s involvement was nothing more than the token guy in charge and as a consequence of the Mis-en-Mess that was Safe House none of these quality actors had an opportunity to flex their skill and craft.  I rate all of them as individual actors, but in this film, anyone could have played their parts, it was just another day at the office for them I reckon.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone, especially not Denzel or Ryan Reynolds fans because as a fan I was gutted.  Just gutted.  Fuck off Espinosa and leave my main man Denzel alone.

(On a side note Denzel was fuckin awesome in this film, he was a baddie, but he was Denzel so he was a goody and he had plenty of tidy lines.  I love Denzel, Denzel is the man, kiss my ass filmfellahenry and filmfellalozz, he was the only worthwhile element in this film, sort of.)

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About filmfellajames
Film critic and blogger, part time rap master, loves UNITED!!!

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