Proper pacing is a wonderful thing, especially when you’ve got a movie about a hyper intelligent rogue CIA agent wreaking havoc with some potentially devastating information. Move too slowly and you run the risk of bogging moviegoers down with details that could ultimately become too cumbersome to sort out. Then again, move too quickly and you might not leave enough time for an audience to absorb all the necessary details. No, Safe House doesn’t nestle itself near the happy medium, rather veers towards the quicker side, but leaves just enough breathing room to give the story some weight and still solidify it as a thrill ride.
Working for the CIA sounds like a pretty cool gig, right? Well, apparently before you get to the secret agent stuff, you’ve got to babysit a safe house and Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) has been stuck with that dull duty one month too many. Meanwhile, the CIA’s most notorious traitor, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), puts an end to his decade-long hideout and is sent to Matt’s Cape Town safe house.
Matt’s shocked and honored when one of the most brilliant and illusive men in the world is put under his care, but is caught even more off guard when his facility is ambushed by men after Frost. The two narrowly escape and it’s up to Matt to get Frost to a new secure location. However, Frost may be turned, but he still retains all the ability that made him one of the CIA’s best and his manipulation tactics slowly eat away at Matt’s steadfastness.
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Had I seen the Swedish action film Snabba Cash before speaking to the film’s director Daniel Espinosa, I would have known what to expect from both him and his new film; Safe House is one heck of a wild ride. It stars Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston, a young CIA agent stuck babysitting a safe house. Matt’s desperate to get out in the field as a case agent, but the problem is, they won’t hire him until he gets some experience and there’s no experience to be had in the safe house. Well, that is until Matt gets a high-level houseguest, the CIA’s most notorious traitor, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington). However, even then, it’s Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick) and his men that take over. It isn’t until a group of armed men barrel into the safe house unleashing a barrage of bullets that Matt’s “experience” really begins, as now he’s the only one left to bring Frost safely into CIA custody.
You know the clichéd phrase, “you’ve got to see it to believe it?” That’s certainly the case with Safe House. It’s one thing to kick off the production with a solid script, but a guy like Espinosa is a necessity when it comes to bringing the piece to life the right way. As a director, Espinosa doesn’t hold back in the least, casting the roles as he sees fit, designing car chase sequences even though he doesn’t drive himself and even getting into the wheel well to catch the action.
His methods are both unique and fueled by passion, and that turns Safe Houseinto a thrilling and gripping ride, one you really do have to see to believe. Give the film a go for yourself when it arrives on February 10th and, in the meantime, get a taste of what it was like to bring David Guggenheim’s script to life straight from Espinosa himself in this video interview.
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According to Ryan Reynolds, “Daniel’s a guy you want to buy stock in,” and after seeing Safe House, I’d have to agree. Safe House is director Daniel Espinosa’s fourth feature, but his very first American film.
It stars Reynolds as Matt Weston, a young CIA agent assigned to a Cape Town safe house, which basically equates to a glorified babysitting job. He reports to his post, listens to some music, throws a ball against a wall and goes home. Sounds like a relaxing day, but not for a guy who’s itching to become a CIA case agent. No experience? No case agent gig. Matt’s luck changes, for better or worse, when the infamous CIA traitor Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) walks through his door. As if it weren’t enough pressure having Frost as his houseguest, Matt’s safe house is ambushed and he becomes the only person left that can bring Frost safely into custody.
After the release of Snabba Cash (Easy Money), scripts began to roll right in for Espinosa. While he knew Safe House was the one for him, it still needed about a year’s worth of work, however, soon enough, that load wasn’t entirely on him, as Washington and Reynolds boarded the project. Not a bad leading duo for your first American feature, huh?
With the February 10th release of Safe House right around the corner, Espinosa came to New York City for a press conference and dished on the details of the entire process from locking his leads, to working in Cape Town and more. Check it all out in the interview below.
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