Safe House

Safe House is a 2012 Universal Pictures action thriller film about Matt Weston, a CIA rookie, who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost, the CIA’s most wanted rogue agent, is captured and taken to the safe house.  During Frost’s interrogation, the safe house is overtaken by mercenaries who want Frost.  Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen’s sight until they can get to another safe house.

The film stars Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington as Tobin Frost, Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston, Academy Award Nominee Vera Farmiga as Catherine Linklater, Brendan Gleeson as David Barlow, Academy Award Nominee Sam Shepard as Harlan Whitford, Rubén Blades as Carlos Villar, Nora Arnezeder as Ana Moreau, and Robert Patrick as Daniel Kiefer.

The music is written and composed by Ramin Djawadi.

The film’s screenplay is written by David Guggenheim.

The film is produced by Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, and Bluegrass Films.  It is distributed by Universal Pictures.

Safe House is directed by Daniel Espinosa.

Safe House is the first film to come out this year about a house.  Safe House is also one of the most mediocre films to come out so far this year.  It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not very good either.  The film’s strengths are balanced out by its weaknesses.  It’s a lot like eating at an Applebee’s.  You don’t know what I mean, well that’s what I’m here for.

I've never actually been to an Applebee's, mainly because every time I see one I think of an 8-year-old child with down syndrome.

#1. A True Movie Star

There are very few actual movie stars left in this world, and Denzel Washington is one of them.  No matter what movie he’s in, there’s always a draw at the box office.  Not many actors can claim this to be true.  Actors like Brad Pitt and Liam Neeson are also a part of this elite group.  Denzel Washington has appeal that goes beyond the fact that he’s a good-looking man.  He’s an amazing actor that has proven time and time again that no matter what role he takes on he’s going to nail it.  Plus, there’s the most obvious appeal of him……

If you have to think about which demographic he appeals to then.........

Denzel shines in this movie, bringing his usual flare, charm, and charisma to the screen.  Even when he’s playing a bad guy, it’s hard not to like this guy.

Ryan Reynolds steps out of the comedic circle and tackles his first serious film role in a major motion picture.  Now I’m sure most of you are probably thinking of Green Lantern as a serious role, and in truth it was, but the problem with that is Hal Jordan the character is not serious at times.  He a very joky and sarcastic individual, which is why even though the movie wasn’t very good, Reynolds was able to shine as Hal.  But in Safe House, Matt Weston is not that at all.  He’s a rookie CIA agent that is still trying to catch his big break.  At no point in the movie does Reynolds say something that was meant to be funny, nor does he do his usual “wink” to the audience, reminding them that it’s him.  He plays the character completely straight, and it shows an extremely amount of growth for the man.  I’m hoping for more “adult” roles from Reynolds in the future.

Look, it's Bella Swan as Snow White.........Cause no matter how hard she tries, Kristen Stewart will never not be Bella Swan!!!

#2. The Plot……if you couldn’t guess it

The plot for Safe House is pretty cut and dry.  We’ve actually all seen it before.  Rogue agent is being hunted with a rookie agent on his tail trying to prove himself….blah…blah…blah.  No one watched this movie for the plot.  But it’s the actors that are able to sell it and make it an interesting viewing experience once again.  The dynamic between Frost and Weston plays like a genius and a high school student.  Frost almost enjoys knowing more than Weston a little too much, but that’s what made them fun to watch.  The rest of the cast is able to just add to the main two players and what they can do with this overused story.

I feel like I've seen "Safe House" before. If only I could remember......

#3.  The Bourne……Safe House???

You’ve have to be a fool to not notice the similarities between this movie and another Universal franchise, namely the Bourne franchise.  It’s clear that director Daniel Espinosa is not only a fan of that series, but more importantly a fan of director Paul Greengrass.  Now Greengrass is a great guy and an excellent filmmaker (for the record, he’s directed United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Green Zone, all of which are from the great people at Universal).  He’s a pioneer in the film world for being one of the first directors to shoot completely with hand-held cameras.  His real world, dark and gritty, shaky style of shooting a film has been copied and duplicated many and many times, but never done right.  Greengrass seems to be the only director capable of making a coherent story from hand-held cams.

While Espinosa tries and tries with Safe House, he ultimately fails.  He seems to understand the tip of a very large iceberg that goes into making a Paul Greengrass-style film.  The best way to describe the way this movie was shot is like giving a camera to a 13-year-old with Parkinson’s Disease.  It’s so all over the place that it’s extremely difficult to follow many things in the film, especially the fight scenes.

You don't hire this guy to shoot your movie!!! Unless there's an earthquake. Maybe the two of them would balance each other out.

Add to that the terrible editing done by Richard Pearson, and the much of the film itself becomes extremely incoherent.  There were literally action scenes that occurred where you as the audience could not make out who was in the fight!!!  It was like a kid that got praise for doing a nice finger painting, then overdoes it with the colors because it’s the only thing he knows how to do until it becomes a mess and you can’t make out what the original picture was.

Then the triple play of all this is hit by the cinematographer named Oliver Wood (who coincidentally did all the Bourne films as well).  This entire movie was so grainy and unfocused it leveled on the point of absurdity.  When you have a close up on someone’s face and you can’t make out the outline of that face, you fail.  It’s not stylistic.  It’s fucking lazy and stupid.  And my hatred for filters comes out once again.  This entire movie was shot with a yellow filter.  Even Denzel glowed like a super saiyan!!!  And that’s not good!!!

Fuck......we're all screwed......Denzel Washington's leveled up!!!

#4. The Finale

Honestly, Safe House would be an excellent watch if it was directed by Paul Greengrass, but since it wasn’t, Safe House becomes an excellent character piece between two excellent actors.  And for the rest of the time it’s an incoherent mess on film.  Because the positives are evened out by the negatives, I cannot recommend this movie.

a 5 out of 10

what did you think Quark???

What an awful piece of so-called hu-man entertainment. Where was the greed??? Where was the lust??? They're not even going after any money!!! BORING!!! And I missed my Tongo game for this too!!! Captain Sisko owes me big time!!!

~ by Matt Whitfield on February 16, 2012.

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