Safe House (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Safe House</strong> (2012)

(In theaters, March 2012) Good casting is about finding actors able to fulfill the demands of a particular role; good typecasting is about using the actors’ existing screen persona to flesh out characters.  In this case, seeing Ryan Reynolds face off against Denzel Washington and Brendan Geeson, we can already guess a few things about their dramatic arc: Reynolds is a young hot-shot who will learn much; Washington is an honorable rogue who never shows a moment of weakness and Geeson, well, [spoilers].  This kind of ready-made characterization plays right in the hands of Safe House, a routine spy thriller that goes through the motions and delivers at least most of the thrills we expect from a film of its sort.  The colorful Cape Town location adds a dash of interest (we see downtown, the stadium, the slums and the neighboring countryside), but much of the film is deeply stepped into the thriller conventions of the espionage business.  The premise isn’t bad (young agent sees turncoat show up at his safe house; mayhem ensues) and the development has its moments (say, during the inevitable car chase, or the twists and turns of the stadium sequence) but it leads somewhere very familiar, with plot developments that can safely be predicted by looking at the casting.  The direction is an added irritant, as it indulges in pseudo-realistic drab shaky-cam cinematography and mumbled dialogue: it’s exactly the wrong choice of aesthetics for a film that doesn’t really adhere to our version of reality nor has anything crucial to say about the state of the world.  Still, the result is entertaining enough, and the lead actors all deliver good performances in typical roles.  Fans of Reynolds and Washington will get their fixes, as well as any indulgent thriller buff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *