Safe House

I’m not sure in which genre to categorize this film… Is it a thriller, a drama, action? Or a bit of all three. And very well done in all respects.

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a CIA operative that has gone rogue and has been at large for about 10 years. In this time, he has uncovered secrets, sold information, and caused havoc for the CIA and beyond.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) has been the “housekeeper” in an extremely quiet section of Johannesburg for almost a year and he is itching to get out in the field. Matt’s handler, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) explains that he has no field experience. But to get a field position, he needs experience, but cannot get experience because he is stuck at the safe house.  See his dilemma?

Tobin has been in Johannesburg, doing what he does best and has come up against a situation he could not immediately escape. So his best option was to walk in the US embassy and be taken into custody. From there he becomes a “houseguest” of Weston’s.

And then, “SURPRISE!”, Weston gets his wish. Somehow, the super secret Safe House has been compromised by the very same people who nearly captured Frost earlier. Like a good host, Weston escorts his guest to new accommodations. (And Robert Patrick gets Steven Seagal‘d, a la Executive Decision.)

While in transit, there are a few bumps, bruises, gunshots and deaths, and most importantly, a mystery to be solved. How was Frost found?

It was good to see Ryan Reynolds acting again! From some of his recent movies, I was getting the impression he was going down the road that Jim Carrey had named after him, “Be the same Freakin Character, but in a Different Movie” lane.

Denzel does a very good job as the quiet, cerebral, and physically capable asset who “…literally rewrote the book on interrogation.” He has to be all of these things for us to believe he has survived hiding from one of, if not the most capable organizations at tracking people in the world.

Nora Arnezeder plays Ana Moreau, Weston’s girlfriend. While she does not have a large part, I feel it is important and well executed. This time, the love story is germane to the story, so I am not opposed to it.

I only noticed a few logic flaws in Safe House. The most glaringly obvious of which was when Weston called his girlfriend from a public phone, the CIA did not lock on and track the source of the call. The reason this is a “problem” for me is the order to watch the girlfriend was given by Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard), in a room full of agents, using multi million dollar technology to track Weston and Frost, and nobody is watching the phone?!?!? (And on that note, why was Weston stupid enough not to use a burn phone?)

The only other complaint I have is the camera work. Too much MTV quick cuts and Bourne Supremacy hand held crap, particularly during the fight scenes. Both Denzel and Ryan have been around the block enough to know how to handle themselves, let them show us!

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