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When I see that name Ryan Reynolds on a poster I cringe. Reynolds has appeared in a number of unintentionally comic roles from the Green Lantern to the truly awful Blade Trinity; or the Marks & Spencers marketing campaign. So I had my expectations set pretty low for Safe House.
Safe House is a beautifully shot film based in modern-day South Africa. It is a paranoia-driven thriller a la Three Days of The Condor, but for the war on terror rather than the cold war. Reynolds does a pretty good job of playing a convincing scared novice CIA officer.
What brings it is the ensemble cast around him like Brendan Gleeson who recently stared in The Guard. Despite being as Irish as a bottle of Club Orange and a bag of Tayto crisps; Gleeson gives a masterful performance of a senior executive at the CIA. Denzel Washington plays the main antagonist Tobin Frost, who is being pursued by an army of private military contractors of an uncertain origin.
If one had to pick one stand out star in the film, it would have to be its location Cape Town, and the surrounding mountains of The Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain which the film uses to great effect.
The tension is amped up by some graphic scenes of waterboarding in the film which is a direct reference to the war on terror. And like most similar films nowadays it draws stylistically from the Jason Bourne series of films, particularly in the use of colour.
The story ends in a bloody Reservoir Dogs-esque climax of betrayal and revenge. Whilst there are no surprises in the film, Safe House takes the audience along for an enjoyable ride.
The trailer gives a good flavour of the film.
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