Action-thriller Safe House was originally set in Brazil. Famously, the producers were so impressed by the stand-in capability of Cape Town that the entire movie was relocated to South Africa, with the Mother City playing her gorgeous, beautiful self. Plot-wise, it stars teary-eyed Ryan Reynolds as a CIA operative stuck in a dead end job watching a safe house in Cape Town. Suddenly he’s playing host to one of the CIA’s most wanted fugitives – the lip-licky Denzel (who’s very assured here.) But the safe house has sprung a leak and the bad guys are circling….. and any more would be giving away the plot.
Now as a viewing experience, Safe House is somewhat fun – the whole theater was a-murmur with “spot the location.” But the problem, as I came to realize, is that few things eradicate the suspension of disbelief quicker than a total familiarity with the filming location. There were for instance a few things that ruined it for me:
1. a very energetic protest march, with WHITE PEOPLE!! (would so NEVER happen that it’s virtually a jump-the-shark moment in the film)
2. A packed soccer match at the notorious white elephant Greenpoint Stadium, which has been used like twice since the FIFA World Cup and
3. a metro station (remember, it was written for Brazil.) We’ve barely got public transport.
So while the first twenty minutes are pretty fantastic, and an opening car chase is as good as anything you’ve seen in the last few years, that road layout of that chase makes no geographic sense whatsoever. I wonder if this is how Angelenos feel all the time? Anyway, whilst I enjoyed it, I guess the lack of consistency finally sunk me. Worth a view, but still a bit disappointing. Well done Cape Town, tho.