Saturday 25 February 2012

Review: Safe House

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Safe House poster

Safe House
116 mins / Dir. Daniel Espinosa

Not a great deal to say about this movie, I'm afraid. That's not to play it down, but it knows its strengths, and follows the formula to an admirable degree...

The Plot: CIA. Explosions. Intrigue. Twists… look, here's the trailer. That pretty much says it all.

The Good: Safe House never tries to be something it's not. The trailer suggests a self-contained action-thriller, with tension, explosions and CIA-related levels of twist, and that's exactly what's delivered. At no point did I expect anything more than what was on offer, and at no point was I disappointed or surprised. The casting is solid enough (if slightly unimaginitive), and the script is lean and nicely trimmed given the characters and situations. Denzel Washington is clearly having a lot of fun, being given the best character. You know Tobin Frost isn't as bad as everyone's making out, but at the same time you're never under the illusion that he isn't the murderer they say he is. Ryan Reynolds puts in a respectable turn as Matt Weston, the conflicted, everyman hero. Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga's performances are a little more phoned-in, but still passable given the limitations of their respective parts.

The Bad: Hand-held cameras. Not the shaky-cam levels of Cloverfield, but during the closeup shootout scenes, on an 80ft wide screen, it's a little hard to follow the action as closely as you'd like. In that respect, watching it on the TV will be a lot easier.

The Ugly: Nothing to report.

Worth £8+? If you're a fan or Washington or Reynolds, probably. For everyone else, it's a solid couple of hours entertainment in front of the telly, be it on DVD or Sky. It's very good, but it's not quite great.


^^ A strong four, but a four nonetheless. I'd probably rate it higher on DVD, if that makes any sense.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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