Spy thrillers have been a mainstay in Hollywood for years. Films about international espionage have become darker and grittier in recent years, leading to like this week’s subject.
Safe House follows CIA rookie Matt Weston, played by Ryan Reynolds, who maintains a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. One day rogue agent Tobin Frost, played by Denzel Washington, is captured and brought to the safe house. While Frost is being interrogated, the safe house is over taken by mercenaries, forcing Weston to escort Frost to a new safe house while unraveling a conspiracy of corruption.
The story, while not necessarily unique, is told very well. It does a good job of playing up the mystery, even though the plot twists themselves feel fairly predictable when they are revealed.
The action gets pretty intense. The film has some pretty creative chase scenes, particularly one that takes place in a slum area.
One drawback I saw was the use of too many shaky handheld shots. It’s fine during the action scenes, where things are chaotic and quick; but is it really necessary during the slow scenes where there isn’t a lot of action?
Washington is good at portraying an agent who’s seen it all and knows how to manipulate people. Reynolds does a good job being the “everyman” in this scenario, easy to relate to and sympathize with while having his own moments of awesomeness.
Overall, I found Safe House to be a moderately enjoyable, even though the shaky cam, while mostly subdued, can get a little annoying.
The story is paced well with a solid mystery and intense and creative action scenes. This film is one you will enjoy if you’re a fan of the “Bourne” movies, action thrillers, and spy films. I give Safe House a 3/5.