Friday, February 10, 2012

 

Safe House

Safe House "You do what you have to do." That's the advice given by a former C.I.A. agent Tobin Frost in director Daniel Espinosa's exhilarating thriller "Safe House" (USA 2012 | 115 min.). Actually, that becomes the only protocol for the film's protagonists to follow in order to survive, because the integrity of the intelligence community has been compromised by corruption and no one can be trusted, in this film anyway. This well-executed film confidently unfolds its story that takes place within a 48 hours period.

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a formal C.I.A. agent who disappears in South Africa years ago and he is accused of providing intelligence to foreign agencies. When he is captured in Cape Town, South Africa, he is brought into a "safe house"—C.I.A.'s code name for secrete locations for interrogating captives. The safe house's keeper is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) who is eager to prove himself in a real operation after being the lone house keeper for over a year.

However, soon after Tobin Frost's arrival, the safe house is under attack. Matt Weston must transfer Tobin Frost to another safe house. Despite the fact that just about everyone in the audience can guess that C.I.A. is to blame on every bullet fired at them, Matt is a little slow on figuring that out, even he moves pretty fast when he is in action. It's a cat and mouse game and we can safely predict who will prevail.

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Safe House

While the plot is certainly not something refreshing, the film is skillfully crafted and terrifically acted. Even it might sound absurd for Matt to reveal his identity to his girlfriend and break up with her at the same time, Ryan Reynolds makes it completely convincing when he displays raw emotion on the big screen.

Let's face it, Denzel Washington almost always plays characters who posses unshakable authority and extraordinary confidence. His voice and body language exhibits that trait effortlessly. Once again, there is no exception in this film when he plays an intelligent C.I.A. agent who calmly voices quips between exciting action sequences.

Although this film doesn't provide much food for thought, if any at all, it surely provides ample entertainment. It also gives us a chance to see how water-boarding is performed, properly. Finally, the film shows that it's not terribly hard to figure out who is a C.I.A. agent—sometimes you just need to ask, maybe not nicely, and they will tell. See it by yourself in the film.

"Safe House," a Universal Pictures release, opens on Friday, February 10, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.


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