In the last seven years Denzel Washington has paired with director Tony Scott on four hyperkinetic ultra-saturated feature films: Man on Fire Deja Vu The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Unstoppable. When he strays from the time-honored action collaboration you'd think the man would take a break from the format. Not so—as Washington's new film Safe House clearly demonstrates.
Daniel Espinosa director of the acclaimed Swedish crime drama Snabba Cash shoots his espionage thriller with Scott-ian flair complete with rapid camera movement a palette of eye-scorchingly bright colors and fragmented editing. If Safe House was emotionally compelling the stylistic approach might make the narrative sizzle—but the script is as simple and familiar as they come: Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent with a monotonous gig. He's a safe housekeeper tasked with maintaining a stronghold in South Africa in case the feds need to stop by for some…interrogating. After a year of begging for field work and keeping the joint tidy Weston finds himself embroiled in the investigation of Tobin Bell (Denzel Washington) an ex-CIA notorious for selling information on the black market. A group of agents bring Bell in to Weston's safe house for a routine waterboarding but everything is thrown into chaos when the lockdown is infiltrated by machine-wielding baddies looking to put a bullet in Bell's head. To keep the captor alive Weston goes on the run with Bell in hand…never knowing exactly why everyone wants the guy dead.
The setup for Safe House provides Washington and Reynolds two fully capable action stars to do their thing and to do it well. The two characters have their own defining characteristics that each actor bites off with ferocity: Reynolds' Weston is a man drowning in circumstance built to kick ass but still out of his league and just hoping to get back to his gal in one piece. Bell has years of experience boring into the heads of his opponents and Washington plays him with the necessary charisma and confidence that make even his most despicable characters a treat to watch.
But the duo fight a losing battle in Safe House contending with the script's meandering action and ambiguous stakes that turn the Bourne-esque thriller into a grueling experience. Much of the movie is an extended chase scene where the object of the bad guys' desire is never identified. It's a mystery!—but the lack of info comes off as confusing. Safe House cuts back and forth between the compelling relationship between Weston and Bell and a war room full of exceptional actors (Vera Farmiga Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepherd) given nothing to do but spurt straightforward backstory and typical "there's no time Mr. ______!" exclamatory statements. Caking it is Espinosa's direction which lacks any sense of coherent geography. The action is never intense because you have no idea who is going where and when and why.
Safe House is a competently made movie with enough talent to keep it afloat but without any definable hook or dramatic emphasis it plays out like an undercooked version of the Denzel Washington/Tony Scott formula. Which is unfortunate as four solid ones already exist.
Every year, we look forward to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show because it features some of the most beautiful women in the world. But unfortunately, the show is only an hour long and takes place just once a year, so we're always left wanting to know more about the stunning models, and what makes them unique. And we thought it would be fun to take some time to analyze some footage from previous Victoria's Secret fashion shows and see how each model conveys her personality through her runway walk.
Miranda Kerr's Walk Is Friendly
Kerr was born in Australia in April of 1983, and grew up riding motorbikes and riding horses on her grandmother's farm. Her first modeling job was for Dolly Magazine, which she landed after she won the Impulse Model Competition in 1997. After she signed with Chic Management, she modeled in campaigns for Tigerlily, Roxy and Billabong. When she headed to New York in 2004, she modeled for Alex Perry, Baby Phat, Levi's, L.A.M.B, Betsey Johnson, Roberto Cavalli, and Neiman Marcus. In 2007 she replaced Gisele Bundchen as a Victoria's Secret Angel and quickly became known for her dimples, which means she's usually the model who looks the most approachable and charming on the runway.
Alessandra Ambrosio's Walk Is Shy
Brazil’s Alessandra Ambrosio was born in April of 1981 and started modeling when she was 15. Early on, she participated in fashion shows for esteemed brands like Dior, Georgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Revlon. In 2000, she walked in her very first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and in the last ten years, she’s become known for posing at the end of the runway looking somewhat shy and modest.
Adriana Lima's Walk Is Tough
Lima was born in June of 1981 and like Ambrosio, she also hails from Brazil and has been a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000. She earned a name for herself when she was 15, after she took first place in Ford’s “Supermodels of Brazil” competition, and then took second place in Ford’s “Supermodels of the World” competition. And since 2005, she consistently ranks in the top five of the Forbes list, “The 20 Highest-Earning Models In The World.” And while all these credentials force us to take her seriously, Lima is most renown for walking the runway with confidence, dominance and strength, and in a style that conveys she’s aware she’s in control of the audience. She's also famous for boxing, and the other Angels describe her as "superwoman."
Behati Prinsloo's Walk Is Engaging
Prinsloo was born in Cape Town in May of 1989 but grew up in Namibia. At only 22 years old, she is one of the younger Victoria’s Secret Angels, but is famous with the other Angels for being spunky, playful, but also for taking photography really seriously. She's frequently seen snapping candid shots of the models as they're getting ready.
Candice Swanepoel's Walk Showcases Her Baby Face
Swanepoel was born in South Africa in October of 1988, and began taking modeling seriously when she was 16 and earning €5,000 a day. She’s appeared in campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana, Betsey Johnson and Diane von Furstenberg. But her professional life took off in 2007 when she became a Victoria’s Secret model and was routinely featured in their catalogs. Swanepoel officially became an Angel last year, but she really put herself on the map for having an extraordinarily youthful-looking face. But the other Angels know her for being an adrenaline junkie, and who is more adventurous than anyone.
Chanel Iman's Walk Has Honor, Humility
Iman was born in Georgia on 1990, and has frequently said the only thing she wanted to be when she was a child was a model. In May of 2007 she appeared on the cover of American Vogue as one of the “World’s Next Top Models,” and Style.com also named her one of the year’s rising stars. In the following years, she went on to appear on the covers of Teen Vogue and Elle, and modeled in shows for Balenciaga, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent. She walked in her first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2009, and was quickly promoted to an Angel in 2010. She’s notorious for being grateful for the opportunity to walk in fashion shows, and for appreciating all the time designers spend helping the clothes fit her.
Doutzen Kroes's Walk Has Curves
Kroes was born in the Netherlands in January of 1985 and has been on the covers of Time, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Glamour, W, Elle, and Numéro. She’s also modeled in spreads for Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Calvin Klein, and Valentino. But in 2005, she became a household name when Vogue.com readers voted her “Model of the Year.” Kroes has been named one of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels since 2007, and in 2008, she became a Victoria’s Secret Angel. But aside from her long blonde hair and her gorgeous lips, Kroes is also famous for having curves where other models don’t. Unlike a few other VS Angels, Kroes is not a size 0 or 2 – in fact, she’s a size 6, and even received praise in February of 2010 from Cosmopolitan’s editor in chief, Bonnie Fuller, for building a career where she can be proud of her shape.