How Safe House tells us what we already knew
As an action packed, government espionage film, Safe House delivers everything viewers would expect. Cars blow up, knife fights are prominent, music is pounding, and Ryan Reynolds takes off his shirt. However, the unexpected joy in this film lies in the grounding and powerful acting of both Denzel Washington and Reynolds, who have an on–screen chemistry similar to the one seen in Face/Off with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta.
In the film, Tobin Frost (Washington), a former CIA agent and current fugitive, is captured by the CIA and taken to a safe house where Matt Weston (Reynolds) is the “housekeeper.” Believing everything the CIA has taught him, Weston watches as Frost is tortured, but as the safe house becomes compromised, Weston is forced to protect the “houseguest” and deliver him to another safe house. On the run, Weston and Frost learn more about each other and their motives, recognizing that information, no matter how small, can lead to the destruction of a relationship or a country. Viewers see Frost literally inject himself with data that could potentially cripple the governmental foundations of the most powerful countries in the world. As Frost notes, a relationship built on lies cannot last.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa, a relative new comer to Hollywood, the film contains some of his individual markings such as the use of the handheld camera, the shaky movements, and the claustrophobic close–ups that make viewers believe they are in the midst of this puzzle. These techniques really amp up the otherwise repetitive action sequences by focusing our attention on the quick movements of the actors. At one point, the camera focuses in on Ryan and his opponent’s face as they crash through a window, and we really feel the tension as time is slowed and then quickly brought forward with momentum.
Unfortunately, Safe House takes viewers on a journey that may soon be forgotten. However, the feelings they experienced during the film, may not. An overall fine job by Espinosa, but as Frost says to Weston, “we’ll take it from here.”
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Ryan Reynolds & Denzel Washington