Safe House is a heart pounding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Thank you Hollywood for finally delivering a movie that has a backbone and doesn’t pander to the lowest denominator. The gritty nature of Safe House manages to suck the audience into the story for an intense two-hour thrill ride that has you eagerly sitting in anticipation of what will happen next.
Denzel Washington plays Tobin Frost, a former CIA Agent that has been on the run and underground for the past decade. Frost surfaces in South Africa where he is making a deal for information that will change the way the spy game is played around the world. In order to not get caught by mercenaries that are after him and more importantly the information he holds, Frost turns himself into the US Consulate in South Africa where he is then taken to a CIA sanctioned Safe House for interrogation. Ryan Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a CIA “housekeeper” who wants to move up in his career path and get out of Cape Town where his current assignment has landed him. For the past year Weston has had no guests at the safe house until the day his one and only guest, Tobin Frost, is brought in for interrogation. When the safe house gets compromised and both Frost and Weston’s life are in danger, Weston must protect his “charge” while on the run. Weston must learn from the veteran as they try to stay one step ahead of whomever is out to get Frost while also trying to figure out what is the information he holds.
This isn’t your typical action movie as there are no over-the-top stunts or forced fight sequences. This is a thriller that stays grounded in reality and allows the characters and the story to grow in a natural progression. The movie just felt “real” and the credit for this has to go to Director Daniel Espinosa. Instead of watching Matt Weston become an unwitting protege’ to Frost, the audience feels like they are Matt Weston and as he gets caught in the middle of the events that are unfolding they are right there with him. There were many times when the sudden impact of a crash or the loud ‘pop’ of a gun really caught the audience off-guard as it wasn’t telegraphed….again, it just felt real.
So the big question regarding casting is what about Ryan Reynolds? Was he a good choice for Safe House as he has mainly known for comedies (The Change Up, Van Wilder) with a few comic book action movies (Blade: Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Green Lantern) under his belt. I’m here to tell you that Ryan Reynolds can act! From the start you realize that Reynolds was the perfect choice for the role of Matt Weston and his performance in Safe House will gladly erase your memory of his miscast performance in Green Lantern. This isn’t your over-the-top action movie…this is gritty and real and Reynolds pulls this off in the likes of Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer (think more of 24‘s first season) and Daniel Craig’s James Bond (2006’s Casino Royale). Denzel Washington may be the bigger name of the two, but Ryan Renyolds is the real star of Safe House. Someone in Hollywood should really be looking at building a franchise around Ryan Reynolds ala Matt Damon and the Jason Bourne series.
As for Denzel Washington’s performance – it’s Denzel! I mean, really, is there anything that can be said that hasn’t been said before? His portrayal of Tobin Frost is reminiscent of his performance in 2001’s Training Day with a smooth, bad @ss attitude. At the end of the day you know that you can count on Denzel giving you a great performance no matter what the scene entails.
Rated R with a run time of 2-hours, Safe House is an intense movie that will keep you wanting more.
Rating = 5 stars out of 5 stars