The movie Safe House solidifies the statistic that if you hang around Denzel Washington, you’re more likely to get shot in the head. The movie also shows, that the events leading up to the shot are familiar, brutal and occasionally jarring.
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. We’ve all seen this kind of film before: a man on the run with the government on his tail, corrupt government officials, coverups and twists that can be figured out before they happen. It’s been done several times, but what makes Safe House stand out, is the acting and brutal fight scenes.
Denzel Washington puts in a stoic performance as Tobin Frost, a former CIA agent who has become a traitor to his country. He’s a type of character that has been done several times before, but Denzel Washington is a professional at what he does and turns Tobin Frost into a walking powder keg that at any minute could explode. Safe House wouldn’t be complete though without the help of Ryan Reynolds, as Matt Weston. Not wanting to be outdone by Denzel Washington, Reynolds creates a character that a first seems to be completely in the wrong line of work. Matt Weston is out of his element, completely lost in the chaos and unsure of what to do next. Over the course of the film, his character is put through intense moments that would normally break a man, but when his life is put on the line he does what needs to be done. In the end, the character we saw at the beginning of the film is no more, instead we see someone who’s eyes have been opened by past events, an almost doppleganger of Tobin Frost and we the audience are left wondering if it really is for the better.
Safe House is not one to shy away from brutal and realistic fight scenes. One fight near the end lasts for a couple minutes and is exciting, pulse pounding and cringe worthy. You’ll feel every punch, kick, tackle and stab. If down and dirty fighting is your thing, you’ll be pleased to know Safe House never pulls it’s punches.
This review can’t be all positives though. Although not a deal breaker, Hollywood’s very own cinematic disease, the shaky-cam, makes it’s way into this film. Don’t worry, we don’t have a Paul Greengrass directed film on our hands here, instead we get a few scenes that are shakier than they should be, but thankfully it’s not completely overwhelming. Also, the editing of the film can be very jarring. For example, a scene showing a person walking down the street, will cut to them several feet away walking into a building. It’s not like the director is cutting away to show something else, it’s a straight cut and it isn’t natural. The music isn’t very memorable either. It’s your standard action fare, but it serves it’s purpose and is never distracting.
Conclusion time! A been there done that film that is saved by it’s wonderful performances and bloody fisticuffs. If you go into the film not expecting the second coming of action thrillers and are just looking for a good time, you’ll be happy to know, Safe House is your home away from home.