9 February 2012 | jdesando
This is NOT a safe house.
"I'm not your only enemy tonight." Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington)
In Safe House, Tobin Frost is one cool fugitive, but then he's played by one of Hollywood's coolest actors: Denzel Washington. Guarding him is young CIA agent Matt Weston played by the prominent film actor, Ryan Reynolds. Together they make good acting possible; if only this crime adventure would let them.
Instead, their moments are mere interludes to the cacophony of guns and gore, a smorgasbord of thriller clichés planted in neat rows by director Daniel Espinosa and blossoming glass and guts ad nauseam. As the cool Frost escapes numerous captures and Weston follows him (they've discovered the "safe house" is not so safe), I wish they'd sit and talk for an hour because the older agent has much to tell the younger about love (Matt has a questioning girlfriend) and survival in the den of thieves known as espionage—global that is. Frost has a computer file with the names of bad cops, some of them friends and supervisors. So nobody's safe.
Among the vulnerable are seriously good actors like Sam Shephard, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, and Robert Patrick. The shame is they have parts so formulaic as to obliterate their acting excellence.
Anyway, you get the routine. The only surprise is that this type of film continues to entertain us even when we know the plot points. In part that's because we like to see good/bad guys played by the likes of Denzel work their way through some challenging puzzles and achieve some success just as we try to do in our daily lives. Also we get to see multiple car crashes without being in them, a wish we may have subconsciously when we experience road rage.
I suggest you leave your rational hat at home (most of the plot makes little sense) and wear your thrill-seeking one because this film will fulfill all your demands for excitement without touching a nerve in your left brain.