By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 3, 2011 at 6:48AM
For any for foreign filmmaker crossing over to Hollywood for the first time, it can be a difficult experience. The Hollywood system can be daunting to navigate, especially for filmmakers not used to the oversight and cooks-in-the-kitchen approach taken by many studios. Some struggle to retain the voice and energy of the work they delivered across the pond, while others quietly slide into the position of turning out executive-approved, star-driven fare. But for Daniel Espinosa, it looks like his first foray is arriving with some considerable style and verve.
The director first made waves with his slick and stylish "Snabba Cash," which caused a bidding war after it debuted at the Berlin Film Festival and quickly vaulted the director into conversations with bigwigs. He then landed the helm of "Safe House," along with two stars in Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. The film centers on a young U.S. intelligence agent (Reynolds) who must go on the run with a newly arrived prisoner (Washington) after his titular safe house comes under attack by assassins. The script by David Guggenheim earned a lot of heat, so no surprise a solid supporting cast including Brendan Gleeson, Liam Cunningham, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Tim McGraw, Vera Farmiga and "Snabba Cash" star Joel Kinnaman came on as well. What's even better? "Safe House" looks pretty damn promising.
Playing like a good Tony Scott film but without all of his irritating editing tricks, and imbued with a palpable moodiness and atmosphere, this first trailer for the film goes full throttle, with no witty asides or underlying humor utilized to try lighten up what (in the script we read) is a taut, lean thriller without an ounce of fat. Yes, Washington is doing his bad guy routine, but even here he seems to be dialing it up a notch, and Reynolds is straight-laced in the clip, trying to keep up with a situation that is clearly getting out of hand.
We're definitely rooting for Espinosa, who really came out strong with "Snabba Cash" putting him on our radar, and we hope this is just the first of many big things from the helmer. "Safe House" rolls on February 10, 2012. Check out the synopsis and trailer below (or in HD at Apple). And oh yeah, the song in the trailer is "No Church In The Wild" by Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Oscar® winner Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he’s remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead.
For the past year, Matt Weston has been frustrated by his inactive, backwater post in Cape Town. A “housekeeper” who aspires to be a full-fledged agent, the loyal company man has been waiting for an opportunity to prove himself. When the first and only occupant he’s had proves to be the most dangerous man he’s ever met, Weston readies for duty.
Tobin Frost has eluded capture for almost a decade. One of the best ops men that the CIA’s known, the ex-intelligence officer has given up assets and sold military intel to anyone with cash since he turned. From trading secrets to North Korea to aiding splinter cells, the damage he’s done to the U.S. is immeasurable. And he’s now back on the reservation with a secret.
As soon as Frost is brought in for debriefing, mercenaries come and tear apart Weston’s safe house. Barely escaping, the unlikely partners must discover if their attackers have been sent by terrorists or someone on the inside who will kill anyone standing in the way. Now it’s up to Weston to figure out who he can trust before they’re both eliminated from the game.