Denizen of darkness
AS WE have learned from Training Day and American Gangster, whenever that paragon of goodness Denzel Washington channels his bad side, it is time to pay attention.
The Washington wacko driving this pulpy freight train of a pic is Tobin Frost, a rogue CIA black- ops man who went off the grid in the late 1990s.
Now back in custody of the feds – albeit in a grotty, heavily fortified shack in suburban Cape Town, South Africa – the wily Frost is being prepped for interrogation before facing treason charges back in the US.
Just as Frost’s captors are waterboarding some intel out of him, the supposed ‘‘ safe house’’ is stormed by masked mercenaries.
At the climax of the bloody skirmish that follows, Frost is hauled to safety by the last CIA man left standing, rookie agent Matt Weston ( Ryan Reynolds, pictured with Washington).
With further CIA back- up more than a day away, Weston must scamper all over Cape Town in search of a place to keep Frost out of harm’s way.
This is more than enough time for Frost to get inside the head of his newbie handler, persuading him a wider conspiracy involving the US government could be playing out around them.
As you would expect, the sociopathic gravitas so effortlessly dispensed by Washington makes a run- of- the- mill shootem- up like Safe House often seem better than it actually is.
Nevertheless his punishing presence does extract some strong work in response from co- star Reynolds, who can often coast along in movies when not challenged.