Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
Thor
8.25 out of 10

Friday, February 10, 2012

Safe House

Safety in Numbers?

Rated: R  Some language and strong violence throughout.
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: David Guggenheim
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick


SYNOPSIS: Young inexperienced CIA agent Matt in charge of a safe house in Cape Town suddenly plays host to ex-CIA fugitive Tobin Frost. When the safe house is breached in attempt to assassinated Frost, Matt finds himself on the run protecting the man he is supposed to keep under guard.

REVIEW: Easy Money (2010) director Daniel Espinosa and Exit Strategy writer David Guggenheim team up with A-listers Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds for a fast-paced cat-and-mouse, spy versus spy, keep-you-guessing, tale of survival
Cape Town, South Africa CIA safe house keeper Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern) spends his shifts in a bored state, wondering when he will be reassigned to a real case officer position elsewhere on the globe. Even his CIA Langley contact David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) can't guarantee Matt any change in his current post. Soon, though, the U.S. Consulate receives a visitor, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington, Unstoppable) as he turns himself in. Transferred to Matt's safe house, the CIA sends an interrogation team to extract whatever information Frost has gained since turning traitor nine years ago. When a heavily armed team led by a man named Vargus (Fares Fares, Easy Money) breaches the safe house after Frost, Matt makes the decision to move off-site with Frost in an attempt to protect him as an intel asset for the Agency. In Langley, senior analyst Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga, Source Code) and Barlow square off against each other to bring Frost in, while deputy director Harlon Whitford (Sam Shepard, The Notebook) orders them to work together to flush out both Weston and Frost before either or both are killed in the field.

Part Man on Fire and The Bourne Identity, Safe House is a white knuckle ride that doesn't let up until the very end. The story begins slowly and innocently enough as we watch Matt mindlessly throws a ball against an empty safe house wall listening to language lessons on his headphones and wishing for more adventure in his CIA career. Across town Tobin Frost meets with an ex-MI6 spook with possible incendiary information on a microchip to be sold to the highest bidder. Once Frost arrives at the safe house a 'walk-in guest', Matt unwittingly gets his wish as all hell breaks loose with automatic weapons fire, flash bangs, double-taps, and a high body count. But while the safe house ends up being anything but safe, the streets and bergs in and around Cape Town are no more safe as Weston and Frost take part in brutal high-speed chases on the run from relentless armed thugs desperate to reacquire Frost. But while Vargus and his men are on the hunt for the mysterious microchip, we soon realize that something more shadowy and covert is afoot.

The action is fast-paced and relentless. But even when the story slows down, Reynolds' Weston and Washington's Frost pace each other like coiled cobras. Every move Frost makes or statement he utters is a calculation he uses to further his own ends. The young Weston, anxious to prove his worth to the Agency he has dedicated his adulthood to, learns quickly that he has to up his own physical and mental game to go toe-to-toe with Frost, as well as unravel the tightening noose created by their pursuers and, possibly, his own Agency. Can Weston be a superior agent to the dangerous Frost? Can he trust the Agency as he continues to try to bring Frost in? Will he start questioning the directives of the Agency as Frosty burrows deeper into his psyche? Guns, chases, fights, conspiracies, and unavoidable and more difficult obstacles - all have a place in Safe House. Simmering and boiling over, the entire film is a lesson in kinetic and forward momentum.

Somewhat safe in their Langley, Virginia bunkered command center, Catherine Linklater, Davis Barlow and Harlan Whitford also master their dance of half-truths, office politics, and real or imagined conspiracies against the Agency and each other. Is there a information leak in the bureaucracy of the business, or are the men pursuing Weston and Frost just that lucky each time they catch up to the pair?

Shot in a grainy, washed-out, contrasted style, Espinosa makes the most out of the Cape Town, South Africa locales. From the center of downtown and a crowded soccer stadium, to a dirt road and isolated villa in the shadow of picturesque mountain ranges, Safe Town is a rock solid story cast against a exotic diverse landscape. The mix of rigged and handheld camera styles finish off a feast for the eyes, jostling around the cityscape during downtown high-speed automotive escapes and settling in close and steady between Frost and Weston as they glare at each other in distaste, adrenaline and testosterone.

Safe House is a high-octane thrill ride, covering all of the bases of the typical actioner. Some parts of the story work on all cylinders, some other could have been done better. As a conspiracy, some points are obvious to the genre initiated. But all in all Safe House will entertain and please, resting on the talents and on-screen presence of Washington and Reynolds, as well as as some great ass-kicking!

WORTH: Primetime and DVD

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