I went into this Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds thriller with absolutely no expectations and now I find myself counting the hours until it’s released so that I can go see it again. Director Daniel Espinosa (A relative newcomer to Hollywood) creates a film that’s somewhere between the high adrenaline of the Bourne movies and the grittiness of a Tony Scott film (Man On Fire especially comes to mind). Reynolds gives a subdued performance and Denzel is menacing throughout with his trademark smile coming off as just plain sinister here.
Reynolds plays Matt Weston, A CIA agent in charge of a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa where he has spent the last 12 months staring at four walls in a perpetual state of boredom. He wants to get out into the field and is eager to prove himself to boss Daniel Barlow (Brendan Gleeson). Enter Tobin Frost (Washington): A rogue ex-CIA agent who’s been selling secrets for the last 9 years until a file he recovered puts him in the crosshairs of some unknown foes prompting Frost to turn himself into the American Consulate in Cape Town. He winds up in Weston’s safe house and all hell breaks loose from there as he gets the ultimate experience in the field where you can only rely on yourself.
In Safe House, there are twists, there are turns and some of the best car chases and fight scenes ever put to film (Not to mention a fight during a car chase!). It’s violent and brutal but it just adds to the intensity of the plot. You forget that Matt Weston is played by the guy formerly known as Van Wilder and Denzel Washington, as always, is stellar. It’s beautifully shot and South Africa is as much a star of this film as are Washington and Reynolds. Add a supporting cast including Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepherd and you have one hell of a movie that’s sure to surprise a lot of people.
Safe House opens this Friday, February 10th, everywhere.