Safe House proves a theory that I have–it does not matter how fine an actor you may have (and there are a few in this film) a movie can sink without a strong script. We have seen it before–Troy, Public Enemies and it is the truth when it comes to this film. It has great performances–okay fight sequences–an interesting premise–and yet, none of it adds up to much because it’s all too familiar and fails to impress. Actually, you forget about it as soon as the credits roll.
The screenplay is the backbone of any feature, which is why I follow screenwriters as much as I do actors and directors. Christopher Nolan? I’m there. Aaron Sorkin? Done. Brit Marling? I’m game. Newcomer David Guggenheim almost had something here…almost. Unfortunately, he falls victim to predictability. Okay, for the masses this may work and Safe House has performed decently in the box office. But for those of us with pickier taste, it is too easy–too familiar. Guggenheim follows the “formula” too closely and there are NO surprises. At one point I thought “That can’t be right? That’s too simple and glaringly apparent!” But, nope it was that simple. Deep sigh.
It is a sad waste of a great cast. Denzel Washington does the best he can with what he has, but again…not much there. Ryan Reynolds is underrated and quite good (check out Buried and The Nines if you doubt it) and has nothing to do here. Brendan Gleeson, who is one of my favorite character actors (The Guard is brilliant!), is poorly used. Vera Farmiga, who I think is one of our strongest female leads, is given nothing. You can see the theme running through this–nothing–wasted–yeah…it is sad.
This is Swedish director Daniel Espinosa first American film and with the box office numbers I am sure he will get another chance to direct in the US. I have not seen his first film Easy Money, but have heard good things. Espinosa does a fine job with what he has to work with. He can create tension and has a good eye for details, but again–that is all wasted.
So, bottom line? You can go watch Safe House and you will more than likely be engaged for almost 2 hours, but that’s about it. Yeah. You know what I am going to say…it’s a waste.
- Safe House: The Anti Bourne (jonathanmoya.wordpress.com)