Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 17, 2012

House arrest

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:31 pm

February 17, 2012

Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds is a visceral action movie, but with a predictable, lightweight plot.

Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a young CIA agent desperate to climb the ladder, but stuck in charge of a Johannesberg safe house – a secret base to hide prisoners or witnesses to keep them safe. Having spent a year there with no one to protect, he’s getting restless and irritable. That changes when fellow agents arrive with Washington, who plays Tobin Frost, a former top CIA operative who went rogue 10 years ago, and is suspected of trading secrets with the enemy. But even before Frost can be properly interrogated, armed assassins show up looking for him and open fire, thus forcing Weston to go on the run with Frost to find out the truth.

Borrowing a thing or two from the Bourne movies, Safe House has plot twists, double-crossing, and some high-adrenaline foot chases. The action, in fact, is nicely done, with more than a few brutal combat sequences that are not for the faint-hearted. But it’s the resolution ultimately that feels a bit anticlimactic, and not hard to guess from a mile away.

Still it’s the two leads that save this film from sinking without a trace. Reynolds is in surprisingly good form as the idealistic rookie, and holds his own commendably against his seasoned co-star. Washington owns the film as the morally dubious Frost, arresting you with his presence, practically sending a shiver down your spine as he plays mind games with Weston.

Safe House isn’t a bad film, it’s just unremarkable and simplistic, a mediocre film that could’ve been so much more. I’m going with two out of five for Safe House. The only reason to watch it is for its charismatic leads.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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