Safe House starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington is a CIA “whodunit” type thriller, with nonstop action and plenty of intrigue. The film keeps you guessing until the very end, and never fails to keep you on the edge your seat.
Matt Weston (Reynolds) is what you call a caretaker, and for the last 12 months has been in charge of safe house in South Africa that has seen no action. Basically staring at a wall day after day, Weston wishes to do something better with his life. Hiding his career from girlfriend Ana (Nora Arnezeder), he hopes to move up the ranks and get a position in France where she is taking a medical job after school. Shortly after the start of the film, Weston’s day finally comes to prove himself when Tobin Frost (Washington) gets a hold of some stolen data from MI6 and is forced to turn himself in to the US Consulate. Shortly after his capture he is taken to the safe house, but a visit from some unwanted houseguests trying to recover the stolen data and kill Frost forces Wrston to keep frost alive while avoiding being killed by the same man he protects.
If you’re familiar with movies like The Bourne Identity or Green Zone, Safe House is a similar government action / thriller to the aforementioned films. The action is great and the story is pretty creative. It’s one of those films where you don’t know the good guys from the bad guys, and the main character doesn’t know who to trust. And you feel just as confused as Reynold’s character throughout the film. It’s great trying to figure out what is going on, as you feel like you are a part of the action.
Ryan Reynolds has definitely stepped up his ability to play action star over recent years, and this role suits him well. His character is likable, and he does a great job as the rookie CIA agent who tries his hardest to prove himself and get ahead. Washington plays the badass that he does so well, and never fails to be the bad guy you want to like so much. You know that Weston is trying to bring him in the whole time, but it’s just too hard not to root for a character as charismatic as Washington is.
Agents Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga) and David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) are two CIA higher-ups who try and handle the situation from the states. Barlow knows Weston, and is trying to keep him alive while apprehending Frost – while Linklater has her doubts about the young agent. You never quite know what is going on with these two, and they do a great job keeping up with the ambiguous nature of their characters.
Safe House is an action-packed thriller that doesn’t stop once it gets moving. The action is filmed well, and the fight scenes are done in a fashion that doesn’t make the characters on-screen appear to be super heroes. If you love the type of movie where you don’t know who is on what side, this is a great watch.