Film review: Safe House (four out of five stars)

Denzel Washington in a not so Safe House.
Denzel Washington in a not so Safe House.

(15) 115mins

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson

LET’S face it - when you see the name Denzel Washington on the cast list you can’t go far wrong.

He’s been in some great movies (American Gangster, Bone Collector) and has pretty much held some films together on his own (Deja Vu, The Book of Eli).

Safe House falls somewhere between the two - another solid performance in a pretty good movie.

Washington plays Tobin Frost, a rogue CIA agent who hands himself in to the American authorities in South Africa after being chased by gun-toting baddies.

Ryan Reynolds (Matt Weston) is the ‘housekeeper’ of a safe house where Frost is taken to. But those baddies don’t give up easily and soon Frost and Weston are on the run.

The movie falls somewhat into two parts, the first two-thirds having a decent plot full of action and not needing too much work from the cast.

In the final third the plot becomes somewhat transparent, though the acting is cranked up a notch or two.

Vera Farmiger as a CIA boss is woefully under-used while Gleeson, as another boss (the CIA seems to have a lot) only really stands out in that final section.

If you like action movies then this has plenty, with car chase scenes that leave you worn out, bullets flying about and several punch-ups.

In fact, director Espinosa doesn’t pull the punches and this film has a far grittier feel because of it.

It’s good to see South Africa used as a back-drop and although the ending is a bit predictable, overall it’s a solid action movie.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley