Feb. 15, 2012 - Issue #852: The Coffee Issue
There are flashes of a fine espionage-thriller with the safehouse-siege (some crackling panic), Reynolds as still-green agent Matt (some quiet anxiety), and Brendan Gleeson (much quiet dignity) as boss David Barlow. The Cape Town setting's used well in a chase along a shantytown's corrugated-metal roofs.
But unlike The Bourne Ultimatum (terrorist state creates insurgent) or Green Zone (Iraq WMD lie), the big secret in Safe House is Le Carré-lite vagueness about spy-network corruption. By the time the body count's hit double digits and the murder scenes have taped off much of South Africa, the movie's blood-smeared itself into committing the deadliest of the 007 spy-thriller sins—dashing into so many chases, doublecrosses and close-ups of carnage and neckbreaking that it skids scuzzily close to secret agent-snuff. Call this Bourne-porn; Safe House needed a safe word.
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Written by: David Guggenheim
Featuring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Robert Patrick
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