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Safe House

Submitted by MBergeron on February 9, 2024 – 10:53 pmNo Comment

Safe House unfolds in a serviceable manner, tight and efficient. A routine spy thriller raised to above normal levels of interest through its cinematography and editing, this Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds starrer is simply relentless as it weaves between hostage situations, car chases and shoot-outs.

There’s a slight Tony Scott vibe one gets from the high contrast color saturation as well as a similar Paul Greengrass feel to the action choreography. Washington may well hold some kind of record for appearing in films with similar high contrast color schemes; Man on Fire in particular comes to mind. Director Daniel Espinosa makes his American bow after helming a few Swedish and Danish films.

Reynolds works as an entry level CIA agent in Cape Town, South Africa. His days are spent throwing a ball against a wall Steve McQueen style (The Great Escape) because the entire time he’s been working he’s never had a guest. Reynolds maintains a safe house with an interrogation room.

Washington plays a rouge agent who turns himself in to the local American embassy after a death squad has targeted him. As the first guest under Reynolds’ watch Washington both taunts his host as well as playing occasional sage to the greenhorn agent. Sam Shepard, Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga co-star as agency higher ups and you just know one of them is dirty.

Safe House has a couple of spectacular set pieces including a confrontation at a crowded soccer stadium. This is the kind of film where you know at the end the hero is going to do the right thing morally and patriotically. Only doing the right thing is never as much fun as grinding car chases and decibel bending gun play.

- Michael Bergeron

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