Den­zel plays it cool – and safe

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

THE BEST THING bout Safe House is that it’s a safe, pop­corn op­tion. Ditto the worst thing about Safe House.

The co-star could eas­ily be Chris Pine in Un­stop­pable or Ethan Hawke in Train­ing Day. But this time out Ryan Reynolds (al­ways a plea­sure, un­less wear­ing a green suit) gets to play sec­ond ba­nana to Den­zel Washington’s cool-headed ac­tion man.

As ever, for the run time, Den­zel is cool. Den­zel knows he’s cool. Ev­ery­body in the movie thinks so too. “It’s the black Do­rian Grey,” says an old es­pi­onage con­tact as Den­zel, a rogue agent on the run from the CIA and an as­sort­ment of in­ter­na­tional bad­dies, rocks on up to his hide­out. Look­ing cool.

Here comes the sci­ence bit. Den­zel, a long­time awol CIA op, ac­quires some class of su­per file from rogue M16 agent Liam Cun­ning­ham. Vil­lains give chase and Den­zel finds him­self in the cus­tody of Robert Pa­trick.

Reynolds is the “house­keeper” at a Cape Town safe house where Den­zel is es­corted for a ro­bust de­brief­ing. Within nanosec­onds the fa­cil­ity is at­tacked, leav­ing Reynolds and his house­guest on the lam, with se­nior CIA wonks Bren­dan Glee­son and Vera Farmiga in hot pur­suit. High-speed pur­suits and dou­ble crosses en­sue.

At least we think they do. There are so many fast cuts in Swedish di­rec­tor Daniel Espinosa’s fun, if dis­pos­able, con­coc­tion that it can be hard to tell. A strong cast adds grav­i­tas to what mostly amounts to a se­ries of car chases. The film pow­ers along, time-pass­ingly well, with­out ever shift­ing gear. Still. Fast is good.


Rogue male: Den­zel Washington gets it on with the CIA in Safe House

Di­rected by Daniel Espinosa. Star­ring Den­zel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Bren­dan Glee­son, Sam Shep­ard, Ruben Blades, Robert Pa­trick, Nora Arnezeder, Liam Cun­ning­ham

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