Skip to main content

Movie Review: Safe House (2012)

Universal Pictures
Runtime: 115 minutes
Rated: R (for strong violence throughout and some language)
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick
Action | Crime | Mystery



























Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the espionage thriller, Safe House.

When “Tobin Frost” (Washington), a traitorous international intelligence broker, enters a U.S. Consulate in South Africa, the CIA resumes the vigorous manhunt for the guy who literally wrote the book on psychological manipulation in dealing secrets.

“Matt Weston” (Reynolds) is a bored-out-of-his-mind Safe House Attendant hoping to move up to something better. With his French girlfriend in the dark about his real career and his own worries about getting ahead boiling over, his problems are soon to be put on hold when he learns that Frost will be held at his safe house.

When it becomes obvious that leaks in the government are a threat to the information-extraction taking place, Weston is locked into a series of decisions that begin to define him. The more he learns about Frost gives him the insight into the direction his own life is heading.

Safe House is one movie that seems to be heading in the right direction and even seems to get better as we follow along. Frost's complacence makes you purposely nervous, but that is before he becomes the “been there, done that” guy, which lets us see that the film doesn't really have that much left up its sleeve once its plot is laid before us. Or does it?

No. As an espionage thriller, Safe House doesn't really offer very much by way of attention-grabbing novelty. It's a government conspiracy movie, and that tells us we're going to have to deal with excessive amounts of corruption in high ranks. The government must be corrupt, we've come to be fed. The film’s challenge: it takes some good writing to give us anything new in that venue and we don't have it here.

And then there's the problem of people dying rather easily. Apparently, the mounds and mounds of paperwork from reports we're afraid of isn't enough to keep government officials from whacking each other. In reality, corruption is much more subtle, but not here. Still, we are brought into a story that does entertain us while wishing it were batting in the next league up.

So the CIA just can't be trusted, nor can any government agency, or anyone who works for one. Does that surprise us? No. And neither does the movie. This is an ordinary film without anything that stands out except for its cynicism and a bad guy at the heart of the whole mess who has enough wisdom to know the system better than it knows itself. Some of these lines sound like they came from a good book. Others sound like talk from a wise and retired business exec who knows how the system can screw you before the next man figures it out.

Not counting its problems or its failure to set itself apart as a memorable crime/thriller, Safe House has some shiny diamonds in its rough that allow it to be counted as passable espionage entertainment. And Reynolds and Washington let their lights shine with genuine character building that shows.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…