When a rogue and wanted ex-CIA agent (Denzel Washington), is brought in as a detainee to a safe house handled by a rookie CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds), the latter’s professional and personal life change forever. Find out more in the review of Safe House.
Business rating: 1 / 5 stars (One star)
Star cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Harlan Whitford.
What’s Good: The action sequences; the performances.
What’s Bad: The predictable screenplay; the absence of a larger motive behind the corrupt actions of the CIA agents.
Verdict: Safe House entertains in parts only. It won’t do much at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for the performances and the action.
Universal Studios’ Safe House is a thriller about a former CIA agent and a current CIA agent on the run from their own organisation.
Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a dangerous and manipulative rogue CIA agent, is brought into a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. The house is handled by rookie CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds).
When unknown assassins attack the safe house and kill the special team guarding Tobin, Matt is forced to make a choice – does he follow protocol and take Tobin to another nearby safe house or does he listen to his captive and find out how his safe house, a secret location, was attacked in the first place. Before Matt can take a decision, Tobin manages to free himself from his clutches and flees. Although Matt is told by the CIA headquarters to bring himself in for a debriefing, he does not relent on his search for Tobin, who, incidentally, is still being chased by the unknown assassins.
Finally, Matt manages to find out Tobin’s location, but so do the assassins. A heavy fire-fight ensues. What happens next? Does Matt take Tobin in? Does he believe in Tobin’s version of the story? Does he find out how his safe house was attacked? The rest of the drama answers these questions.
Safe House Review: Script Analysis
David Guggenheim’s screenplay takes off well, and the friction between Tobin and Matt is entertaining. But the screenplay becomes too predictable after the initial part. Just a few reels into the film, the audience is aware of how the drama will unfold. This spoils the fun for them. Tobin carrying a micro-chip with him all through the drama might seem to be a plausible reason for hired assassins to gun for him, but since the audience is never really told what’s inside the chip, it cares little about what is happening on the screen. Moreover, the angle of an internecine war in the CIA is rather ineffective as no bigger motives, other than petty personal gains, are attached to the agents’ misdeeds.
On the plus side, the action sequences (and there are plenty of them) are very well-executed and entertaining.
Safe House Review: Star Performances
Denzel Washington is good but it is Ryan Reynolds who emerges as the real hero. The latter’s performance is very believable and mature. He is also very good in the action scenes. Vera Farmiga. Brendan Gleeson and Harlan Whitford, as the CIA bosses, do fine jobs. Reuben Blades (as Carlos) is alright. Nora Arnezeder (as Matt’s girlfriend) is effective. Others offer average support.
Safe House Review: Direction & Editing
Daniel Espinosa’s direction is alright as he makes the confrontation scenes between Tobin and Matt very engaging. However, he fails in camouflaging the predictability of the script. Ramin Djawadi’s background score is nice. Oliver Wood’s cinematography is effective, especially in the action scenes. Brigitte Broch’s production design is good. Editing, by Richard Pearson, is sharp.
Safe House Review: The Last Word
On the whole, Safe House is an ordinary fare. It will do very limited business in Indian cities.