Safe House: A South African Perspective

This weekend I went to see Safe House with The Boyfriend. I’d been keen on seeing it since they filmed it in Cape Town in areas where I work and play. I’d dealt with the road closures, the film crews and the hysteria around the stars. So why not see the movie?
The plot is as follows: A young CIA agent Matt Westinn (played by Ryan Reynolds) is tasked with looking after a fugitive Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge. And doesn’t know who to trust.

As an action movie, this film was super excellent. Epic car chases (and crashes). gun fights, explosions and brutal beating scenes. It’s not saying much, but I had several frights in the movie – sudden double crossings, unexpected gunfire, oooooh fun. The casting was pretty excellent, Ryan is not a favourite of mine but he really pulled off the nervous, almost-boring character of Matt excellently. Denzel, of course, was brilliant. The story line was pretty thing and most of the twists predictable, but you’d see this movie for the ACTION ADVENTURE not a well put together plot.

The cinematography of Cape Town is freaking stunning. The arial shots definitely show Cape Town in a way that very few people have captured it. They managed to make it look exotic yet like urban. However, as a local, the splicing together of some scenes – especially the car chases – were hillarious. From Bo Kaap to Long Street to the Foreshore – guys, they’re a block apart! I get they only had limited film permits, but The Boyfriend and I, as well as the couple next to us, were in hysterics over how the scenes were cut together.

Not to mention Cape Town Metrorail station is apparently below Green Point Stadium (also, wtf platforms were those?! I aint seen them ever!). And while it may be true that this is the kind of detail only locals should pick up, SA was home to the Soccer World Cup only two years ago. Thousands of tourists hit the city, the stadium and even our public transport hubs. So all those thousands of international fans will realise that ‘WTF, that’s not what it’s really like!’ And given that they filmed inside the main hall of CT station, it’s obvious they had some kind of permit for the area (as well as the streets around the fountain).

Lastly, the protest scene at the beginning (yes, I’m ending at the start). Really? REALLY? Guys, that’s not how angry protests are done here. Your crowd was too mild. Where were the burning tires? The toyi-toyi? Also, “Give us real jobs” on nicely printed placards being waved about by every colour of our rainbow nation. Um, what? Your crowd was way too PC and organised to be real. And everyone else acting like this sort of protest was an everyday thing, huh? It’s a bit of a cliche plot point. Africa = poor = protests. I get we needed a ‘distraction’ and a crowd to get lost in, but surely there would have been another less obvious route to take than opting for a job march?

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Action
If you liked any movie where people fire guns at each other, then you’ll like this book.

(images: google.)

2 thoughts on “Safe House: A South African Perspective

  1. Am watching this now – in Texas. Used to live in Mouille Point, right behind the old Green Point Stadium. When I heard the phrase “Green Point Stadium Metrorail Station” I thought, surely my ears deceive me. After watching the scene, I had to google the phrase because I knew, I just knew, that the only hit I would return would be a South African saying, “WTF?” So, thank you for validating that guess. Also, I have enjoyed reading your blog; keep it up.

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