“Safe House” advances the myth that there are numerous black cells operating within the intelligence community, all working violently against one another with unlimited funds.
However misguided, it is an exotic and thrilling consideration. Robert Ludlum made a huge fortune writing the Bourne series along such plot lines.
“Safe House” has much the same theme as Bourne, with the following exception: the story is simple, focused, and fast-paced. Plus it has Denzel Washington who is very cool and dominating in his role.
Washington plays Tobin Frost, a bad guy, an internationally-hunted former CIA operative. (There is a suggestion that Frost may not be as bad as he is misunderstood, but that point is moot.) He holds incriminating information about senior people in the intelligence community, and there are a lot of people much worse than he chasing after him.
It is a chase movie. This prompts some clever, carefully choreographed, very taut and thrilling scenes as the chase proceeds around Cape Town, S.A – on foot, over rooftops, in cars, on subways, in a crowded soccer stadium.
Early on, Frost turns himself into the American Consulate to avoid all of the bad guys trying to kill him. But the Americans want him too, whereupon he lands in a safe house overseen by Matt Weldon (Ryan Reynolds). Reynolds is great in his role, too – intense and driven where Washington is cool and calm. As Frost’s protector, Weldon becomes not only one of the chasers, but the chased.
The pace is fantastic and there are some interesting twists. Only at story’s end is everything reasonably resolved. “Safe House” is an intelligent, well shot, well directed action movie that gives real cinematic definition to “fast and furious.”
Jim Wigge is a Cazenovia resident and film-aficionado. After retiring from his career as an engineer, he has been reviewing movies for the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached through the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.