Safe House is a thriller that has a rather common plot, where two people are forced to work together in order to overcome a common problem. The film features Ryan Reynolds as a CIA operative who must work with Denzel Washington, who plays a veteran agent who has gone rogue. After a shoot out they are forced to work together because government information has made them the assassination target of some seriously armed villains.
Reynolds plays the character of Matt Weston who is responsible for running a safe house but when the bad guys find out where it is, along with Denzel Washington, they manage to barely escape. First of all the characters decide they must return to CIA headquarters but quickly after this, as you might expect with a thriller film, they begin to distrust their superiors at the agency.
Safe House is certainly a formulaic film but there are certain aspects that should make you consider seeing it. First are the significant acting abilities of Reynolds and Washington. The direction of the film which was by Daniel Espinosa, the Swedish filmmaker, is also excellent and is very exhilarating.
As with many thriller films, the plot moves very fast and is the reason the main characters are not developed particularly well, but considering this the two actors do manage to bring some degree of depth to the roles.
American Gangster and Training Day were both films that proved the Denzel Washington could play very dark characters despite the fact that most of the characters he has played in his career are heroes. Reynolds brings charm and vulnerability to the film and is convincing as a rookie CIA agent.
The contribution of the two actors to the film should not be underestimated. The chemistry between them, and the ability of the two actors, is one of the reasons why it succeeds. If it had not taken these two actors on board then it would be a very disappointing film, much like Man On A Ledge which was released earlier in the year.
The director brings a great amount of friction and weight to the film and at points it becomes very gritty. The editing and camera work have taken lessons from the Jason Bourne film school of thinking and the tense editing and shaky cameras are quite apparent.
The action sequences in the film are well put together and they don’t suffer from the usual problem in thriller films when you don’t really know what’s going on in a shooting sequence. The way the action is framed means you always know where the characters are and who they are shooting at and being shot at by. This is a real talent of the director to do something that even leading Hollywood directors sometimes fail to do.
The cinematographer of the film is Oliver Wood who also does an excellent job. The moments of violence in the film are extreme and tense and are presented in a way that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.