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Safe House

Safe House: Entertaining But Predictable Action Movie

  • Brendan GleesonDenzel Washington...
  • Action & AdventureMystery & Suspense
  • Daniel Espinosa
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Safe House:  Entertaining But Predictable Action Movie

Weston (Reynolds), a young CIA agent, wiles away his time looking after
an empty safe house in Capetown, South Africa. Desperate for any way to prove
himself, he’s left flat-footed when the CIA’s most wanted man, Tobin Frost
(Washington), is apprehended and interrogated at the safe house. Formerly the
CIA’s best agent, Frost is tortured before a gang of mercenaries show up and
proceeds to kill everyone in sight. Weston manages to escape with Frost and
finds himself trying to stay a step ahead of both the gang, who are intent on
killing him and capturing Frost, as well as Frost himself, who will do whatever it takes to
slip away from them both. Frost’s influence causes Weston to question his
choice of career, his mentors, the integrity of the CIA and the extent he’s
prepared to go to in order to advance his career.

Safe House is
worth it just to see Weston’s naiveté being crushed. It would be heartbreaking
if it wasn’t so pathetic. His degree of innocence is acceptable in a child, maybe in an idealistic college
student, but not for somebody who actually works for the CIA. This flaw isn’t
of Reynolds’ doing yet it overshadows his performance nonetheless.

Frost represents an example of a path that Weston’s life could take if
he makes certain choices. Like Weston, he was an idealistic agent. He, however,
went rogue when he discovered the hypocrites and traitors in the ranks of the
CIA. Reeling from the shock, he decided to switch careers and start dealing in
top secret data, getting in deep with the underworld. When he comes into the
possession of a particularly volatile piece of information, he finds himself
being pursued incessantly which leads him to give himself up to the American
consulate who at the very least, won’t kill him on sight.

Reynolds and Washington play off of each other decently enough. Reynolds
really sells the whole newbie-out-to-prove-himself aspect while also showing
the fact that even though he’s in way over his head, he can’t shove aside the
issues of morality that keep cropping up. Washington, on the other hand, plays
Frost as an exceptionally unpredictable force. His ambiguity keeps you guessing
whether he’s a hero or a villain.

Safe House
manages to keep things reasonably tense and features some pretty cool and
exciting car chases, explosion and fights, but when push comes to shove; the
film’s average at best. It may have been better had its setting not been so
generic. The film is almost entirely set in South Africa yet you’d be forgiven
for mistaking it for America.

The antagonists were another squandered opportunity. They’re little more than highly menacing, gun
toting, villainous caricatures. Spending a couple of minutes with them and
getting to know them would have given the movie some much needed depth and
would have raised the stakes somewhat.

Safe House has
everything going for it. It has good actors, a decent script and solid talent
behind the camera. Unfortunately, it doesn’t succeed in standing out from the
pack and ends up getting lost in the shuffle of action movies that are cranked
out every month.

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A laundry list of Hollywood’s biggest male stars were considered for the role that ended up going to Ryan Reynolds. Among them were actors such as Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy.

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The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Smokin' Aces

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