Movie Review: “Safe House”

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel February 29, 2012

It turns out that the Safe House isn’t so safe after all.

Safe House stars Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington in roles as badass government CIA agents. Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a young CIA agent who is in charge of looking after a safe house in Capetown, South Africa. For 12 months, boredom ruled Weston’s post when one day supposed rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought in for questioning and then shit gets real very fast.

Denzel Washington is definitely the most interesting part of this movie. He consistently rocks whenever he takes on morally questionable characters like in Training Day or American Gangster. His suave arrogance, piercing gaze and smirk make you hate to love him. Frost is a character who seems to know exactly what’s going on and that supreme knowledge he carries over Weston especially, is what leads to this arrogance.

Frost is a badass who can take you out casually with a single shot and move on like it’s no big deal. But he’s not a cold-hearted monster as he claims he “only kills professionals” when faced against Weston. This “layer of depth” to his character becomes important later on.


Ryan Reynolds is a man who can play many parts- a romantic lead, an awkward outsider, that guy everyone wants to be friends with, or an action star. He is most of them in this role. He plays the romantic man who wants to be promoted and moved to Paris to be with his love, but is not able to due to his lack of field experience.

Of course this plot point isn’t introduced for no reason, soon after, this awkward newbie CIA agent gets the field experience of his life when Tobin Frost is brought in and all hell breaks loose within his safe house. He molds himself over 115 minutes from a man in a panic in a tight situation, to one who figures the very obvious plot about halfway through and begins to become the suave rogue Frost is.

As an action movie, Safe House is a pretty safe bet if all you want from a movie are a lot of guns, explosions, car chases, sprinkled with a touch of government conspiracy. In no way is it a mind-bender or a difficult movie, it delivers what it promises-badassery.

They also try and mix in a bit of romance between Weston and his girlfriend, but she only exists to show the “growth” of Weston’s character from an idealist to a man who discovers the seedy underbelly of the world and realizes that he must be married to his job. He cannot lead a normal life if he wants to work for the government.

This becomes apparent when he tells his girlfriend the truth, which is he’s CIA and she’s in danger so she must leave Capetown immediately. This moment is supposed to make you feel something for Weston, and realize all the sacrifices he must make, but it is tainted with the extremity of lame and cliché that fills it. He tells her he’s not who she thinks he is, then says he’s CIA, she starts to cry and hit him, and they move on from each other in a tear filled goodbye. So lame. But then the movie quickly moves on from that sappy moment onto bigger and badder action sequences, and all is well in the world again.

Safe House claims “No one is safe” in its tag line, which adds to its overarching government conspiracy-type theme. This can make it seem like the movie is trying to instill a sense of paranoia in the audience…or any emotion really. That never really happens as it follows each and every action movie, stereotypical sequence of events out there. Good guy meets bad guy, action ensues and they either become friends or one of them triumphs. You’ll have to see what kind of ending Safe House holds when you watch it for yourself. Because at the end of the day I would definitely recommend seeing this movie if all you want to do is turn your brain off, pop some popcorn and watch a lot of crazy action stuff go down. It definitely delivers on the crazy action stuff.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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