Car chases, gun fire, explosions, violence, Denzel Washington – all are the earmarks of a great Saturday night movie. In the case of my night, March 3, that movie came in the form of Safe House starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.
The premise of Safe House is that Tobin Frost (Washington), a rogue CIA agent, has come into possession of very incriminating evidence against the United States and high ranking CIA officials.
After 9 years on the run from the organization that he betrayed, Frost strangely turns himself in to a consulate in Cape Town. Not able to send in a professional team on short notice, CIA director Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga) alerts Matt Weston (Reynolds) that he has a guest on the way.
Weston, a “house keeper,” has a simple job with the CIA –he stays in an empty house in South Africa every day, on the off chance that the higher-ups will capture a fugitive nearby and bring him or her to the “safe house” for questioning.
Knowing that he can be doing more for the CIA, Weston asks his personal director David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) for a relocation to Paris in the hopes of becoming a field officer. Barlow tells him to hold tight and hope for a way to prove himself to the organization. In less than 24 hours, Frost is delivered to Weston’s house, much to his disbelief.
Of course, there is a very powerful group of assassins after Frost, who hijack the house and kill the CIA operatives on site. Weston escapes with Frost, who reminisces on his beginnings as a nervous agent, just like Weston. Frost tells Weston his prediction – that the CIA, enraged with the disaster, will take Frost into their own custody, and that Weston’s career will end with one sentence: “We’ll take it from here.”
Weston, after his departure from the house, is instructed by Linklater to stay off of the grid for at least 18 hours until the CIA can intervene. But Frost is smart and proceeds to evade his captor as well as the assassins on a mad chase through South Africa.
As the sleep deprivation and endless car chases fatigue Reynold’s character more and more, his big, brown puppy-dog eyes grow more stony, and his surprising pairing with Washington is pleasantly believable.
Safe House is not a film for the faint of heart. More than a few scenes feature Tarantino-caliber violence and every time Reynolds leaves a given location, there is some poor dude lying in a bloody heap left behind.
Though maybe not the best for a romantic date night, Safe House is definitely the best choice for spicing up a dull night with suspense, excitement, espionage and Denzel, looking debonair as ever.