So far it's the best action flick that came out in the cinema since the beginning of the year.
The dynamic Denzel Washington resurrected in Hollywood, in the spy thriller Safe House. This movie is his rebirth; elevated him once again as the compelling anti-hero, a force to be reckoned with.
Partnered with the fresh-faced Ryan Reynolds in this almost obscure, off-the-radar espionage thriller, Washington plays Tobin Frost, a legendary CIA renegade, who after trading national secrets with enemies for nine years, surprisingly turns himself in at the U.S. Consulate, and is immediately transported to the CIA Safe House. Young housekeeper, low-level agent Matt Weston (Reynolds), after a year of being bored on duty, suddenly finds himself with the dangerous Tobin Frost, right under his watch. Will he allow Frost to get inside his head?
Set in the pulsating streets and colorful slums of Cape Town, South Africa, Safe House is an intelligent and delicious spy thriller that provides a lot of startles and sophisticated action sequences. With superb editing, extreme close-up and camera-shaky shots, as well as gorgeous saturated colors, it gives off a nitty-gritty realistic feel to the movie, magnifying each brute force, every explosive punch, and ear-shattering gun shot, and you sense all the blood, the sweat, and the tears. Denzel Washington is brilliant once again, his comeback a huge relief; and Reynolds is fairly persuasive, credible in his wide-eyed fear, innocence, and youthful determination. They complement each other in the movie, their relationship a tad reminiscent of Training Day.
Directed by a Swedish Hollywood newcomer who takes us by surprise, Daniel Espinosa gives us a spy thriller just the way we want it: humorless (except for Vera Farmiga's laughable hairdo and clownish make-up), serious, and intense. It contains no fairy-tale frills-- just pure and point-blank aggressiveness and cold-blooded, no-holds-barred spy mission. What makes this film even more deliciously compelling is that the protagonists are not ridiculously invincible; they get seriously hurt; each fall, shot, and hit result in realistic injuries. The violence is raw and aggressive but it is essential to the heart-stopping fight scenes-- sensible and not done out of sick pleasure.
Do not expect elaborate and complex plot twists because this is not a mystery-spy movie meant to challenge your guessing-game skills, but it's pure action film meant to jump-start your senses and jack up your adrenaline as you follow a rogue CIA agent and an ambitious novice in a maddening and electrifying cat-and-mouse chase in the vibrant streets of South Africa.
The film is a vivid and raw beauty, with amazing shots, and a thrilling musical score that heightens suspenseful and emotionally charged scenes. And along with notable acting performances by the entire cast, Safe House has all the right ingredients that spy-thriller movie enthusiasts crave for.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Opens in theaters on February 10th, 2012.