In our opinion. everything Denzel Washington touches (well, acts in) turns to gold. The Bone Collector, Man on Fire, Deja Vu…all extremely watchable because of Washington. His faultless performances never change and his youthful looks don’t either – and this is the same for latest action flick Safe House.
Washington plays rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost who is brought into a ‘safe house’ in South Africa. The safe house is under the care of young CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) who has the responsibility of looking after Frost. But when the safe house is compromised and invaded by the enemy who are after Frost, both CIA agents find themselves on the run and dodging bullets.
The movie has been compared to the Bourne series, which is to be expected as the film shares the same cinematographer Oliver Wood. The comparison is unfair though as at no point does it try to be a Bourne film. Yes the CIA references and action scenes are both heavily featured, but the plot line and relationship dynamics are completely different. Both Washington and Reynolds play completely different characters and both form an unlikely on-screen friendship which lights up the somewhat blood-splattered screen.
The duo’s relationship is familiar and it’s probably because Washington often takes on the role of a mentor. Think him and Angelina Jolie in the Bone Collector and you’ll understand what we mean. The chemistry between Washington and Reynolds is great and the action scenes are very realistic – the car chase scene where Frost attempts to strangle Weston is particularly shocking. There are some gory scenes which are difficult to watch but this does add to the authenticity.
The setting, Cape Town, compliments the hectic and fast paced shots. The scenes are always packed with people and the dusty, busy roads make a good setting for the nail-biting chase scenes.
Safe House is quite different to other action films we’ve seen before. The fighting skills of both characters aren’t that of a superhero or even a super slick fighter. Both men fight realistically – sometimes winning and sometimes losing. The shaky camera work makes you feel like you’re there in the action but does have a tendency to make you want to vomit too. If you can hack a bit of gore and like action thrillers then you’ll like this.
Clooney plays democrat Mike Morris who is bidding for power in the presidential elections. Gosling plays his adoring press spokesman, Stephen Myers, a sharp-witted young shot who believes in Morris and the campaign. The team is headed up by Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Throughout the campaign Gosling’s character finds himself interacting with the opposition – much to the disappointment of his colleagues. What ensues is a story of corruption, deceit, suspicion and betrayal as everyone competes for power and media approval.
The cinematography throughout the movie is very clever and some of the shots are just plain pretty. The first scene sees Gosling’s character walking onto an empty stage to practice an election speech. The room is dark and eery and all you can hear is the static of the microphone and Gosling’s heavy breathing. It sets the tone for the movie well – the rest of the story is quite tense and unpredictable.
Clooney, although one of the main characters, unfortunately doesn’t get much screen time. When he does appear he gives his usual charasmatic performance but he needs a bit more of a role in order to make a real impact. Seymour Hoffman is fantastic as the campaign manager although we have to admit we miss his funny appearances in films like Along Came Polly.
The biggest star of the show is undoubtedly Gosling. He has exploded onto our screens recently and for good reason. He takes control of every scene he is in and you can’t help but navigate towards him when he speaks. The character is someone easy to relate to – he wants to make an impression but he also wants to do the right thing. This is of course sometimes difficult in politics and this is what the film displays best. It gives a real insight into the world of politics – where image and values are paramount.
The twists and turns throughout the film are really interesting and definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re even slightly interested in politics and its psychology then this is a definite must see.
Sci fi thriller In Time is a really interesting look at what the future could be. The story revolves around the theory that ‘time is money’. Quite literally. Currency has been replaced by time, with every member of society wearing a digital clock on their arm and earning time for every shift they clock in for. Most people who live in the ‘ghetto’ survive day-by-day whereas others give ‘decades’ as birthday gifts. Everyone starts earning time from their 25th birthday, and so everyone stays young.
The lead character is Will Salas, played by Justin Timberlake. Living in the ghetto with his mum (Olivia Wilde) Will works at a factory and usually only has a day on his clock. But one night he is given a gift – of 100 years – by a drunken man who he meets in a bar. The morning after he finds the guy timed out and a small note which simply says ‘don’t waste my time.’ Suddenly Will has years to play with and so, naturally, time slows down and he begins to enjoy the finer things in life. It all speeds up again though when Will, who is suspected of murdering his acquaintance, goes on the run and takes a millionaire’s daughter (Amanda Seyfried) hostage. They soon spark up a romantic relationship and go on a mission to distribute time to the poor.
Timberlake is very believable in this futuristic Robin Hood role. His character is relateable and has you backing him the entire way. The chemistry between Timberlake and Seyfried is also really sincere. Seyfried plays a rather different character than usual and she is almost unrecognisable in a fiery red wig. The two characters compliment each other well – he is tired of injustice and she is desperate to break free from her fathers empire.
The message of the film is quite clear too. It’s all about the rich taking things for themselves and limiting how much time the poorer members of society can earn. Although it is set in the future there are some scary resemblences to society today. Will we all wear clocks on our arms and pay for bread with time? We doubt it. Will there always be a struggle between the rich and the poor? Probably.
It gives pretty much nothing away but the teaser trailer for Neighborhood Watch has been released. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade star in the movie which focuses on a group of dads who form a neighborhood watch group to get ‘out and about’. Hard to tell from this particular trailer but with the cast line-up looking great, it’s sure to be a side tickler.
The first snap of Ryan Gosling in his new film, Only God Forgives, was released earlier today.
The new Nicolas Winding Refn movie follows Gosling’s character, Julian, as he runs a Bangkok boxing club. The last time Gosling and Refn hooked up was on the fantastically dramatic Drive. That was a treat on the eyes so surely this film will be too? What do you think? Let us know below
Regardless of whether you like the new name, there is no denying that the new Avengers Assemble trailer is superb. Marvel released the trailer this week – with the movie set to hit our screens on 26th April. Check out the trailer below!