Safe House is full of shocking surprises and its without any doubt the first great picture of the year.
It's only February, and here I am already praising a movie this year for its outstanding surroundings. As a critic of film, I have my reputation of sometimes over-looking past the bad in movies and enjoying things too much. With Safe House, that isn't really the case. With a bag of popcorn in one hand, I found myself mostly chewing on my nails throughout the entire film. For the first time, I ended up loving a movie without even realizing it until the credits rolled. I walked into Safe House expecting a cliché and over-the-top rehashed action-flick, but instead got a pulse-pounding thriller leaded by two great actors with riveting chemistry.
Safe House takes what it can get and never really crosses the line to make itself better. It accepts the fact that it's a movie that has been done once before. What Safe House is it takes a usual storyline fans of the genre will be familiar with and works to make itself more fun. From start to finish, Safe House is pure quality entertainment filled with some incredibly done action-sequences. These action scenes bring you right down to the grit and aren't afraid to make the audience jump from its brutal violence. These character's were written to kill and kick absolute ass, and thats exactly what viewers of Safe House want; they absolutely get it too.
Revealing too much from the storyline would be silly. While some scenes in the film may be repetitive from past films in this common genre, Safe House still tells an unpredictable story that sucks you in from the beginning and keeps hold of you until the very end. The film grasps a theme that we see most in film, which is betrayal. The only thing Safe House does differently is it takes this theme of betrayal to the very next level and uses extreme violence and character inference skills to help the audience understand the moral a bit more. Scenes between the two main character's give you absolute insight on what betrayal is and how pretty much no one can be trusted. This theme is what really grabs us and makes the concept of Safe House so intriguing.
Denzel Washington gives a knockout performance here as Tobin Frost and to be completely honest this is probably Washington's best performance since "Training Day". Certainly, the man isn't Oscar-worthy this time around but the way that he provides such a chilling and neutral vibe to the character is near-perfection. Starring side-to-side with Ryan Reynolds, Washington is able to play the character all the more merrier through excellent chemistry. Reynolds is stepping outside his usual smart-ass character-mode and playing a more serious role. Believe me, I'm all for a sarcastic Reynolds in an action-flick, but the idea of him being much more subtle here was great.
The raw and gritty look drawn on the film's look is the perfect way to experience this film. Director Daniel Espinosa did an excellent job darkening this film to set up the perfect mood. Safe House is extremely dark, violent, and graphic, and thats exactly the way it should be. A film that corresponds around a theme of betrayal doesn't deserve the PG-13 light edit. Instead, the movie should be as brutal and extremely graphic as possible. The mood and tone of the film should be gloomy and dark as well, and Espinosa understood this completely and made it happen. Kudos to him for making one of the best action-films I've seen in a while.
The theater I saw it with was sold-out, packed with smelly movie-lovers, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves all the way through! Safe House is far from the film that I was expecting. As cliché, rehashed, and boring as the film may actually look, believe that all you want, but I can almost guarantee that if you give it a try and expect the least you'll absolutely get the most out of this one. Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington face-off in a collaboration not to be missed! It's not the over-the-top romp it looks to be, because Safe House knows when to draw a line in the sand and thats exactly why the film works so well. See it...and do it in theaters. You won't regret it.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood.