The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Safe House | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Safe House

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard

If a wedding video was put together in as shoddy a fashion as this turkey the newlyweds wouldn't accept it.
Lock a twelve year old in a cell for a year with "Domino" and "Transformers 2" looping on a screen, give him a spy thriller to direct and this is what you'll probably end up with. Swedish director Espinosa does to this movie what his compatriot Sven Goran Ericksson usually does to the football teams he manages; turn up, pick up a weighty cheque and leave a shitstorm in his wake. I don't think I've seen a major film this badly directed before, the guy doesn't even seem to understand film-making basics like eyelines. I don't expect every director to be David Lean but if you don't understand simple film grammar you shouldn't be helming a major studio production. I'm no Stephen Fry, I'm sure I occasionally misplace a comma or apostrophe here and there but I have enough of a grasp of grammar to prevent my work being unreadable. Espinosa's film grammar is so poor it renders this film unwatchable.
Think of a cut as a punctuation mark. If, I, use, commas, randomly, like this it, makes a, sentence, very hard to, read. Likewise if a cut is made for no reason it makes the film very hard to watch. It's not something we might even think about but pretty much everyone in the developed world is cine-literate. Subconciously our minds read a film, our understanding of film grammar enables us to make sense of a sequence of images. We go with the flow and don't notice the work of the director, or at least not if they do their job correctly. When the director doesn't know what they are doing our minds refuse to process it, just like reading a novel with no commas. Of course no publisher would release a novel plagued with grammatical errors but Hollywood seems to have no such quality control.
The hiring of Espinosa shows how Hollywood execs think, thanks to Stieg Larsson and "The Killing", Scandinavian crime drama is big business at the moment, so let's hire a Swede. Well done Hollywood, well done.
The script is riddled with plotholes but with a cast as strong as the one assembled here any half-decent director should be able to turn out a passable yarn. Espinosa can only dream of being half-decent.