Reel Reviews: Spy flick plays it safe

The Morning Star reviews new Ryan Reynolds, Denzal Washington spy thriller, Safe House.

  • Feb. 17, 2012 12:00 p.m.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Matt Weston in Safe House.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Matt Weston in Safe House.

Who’s your traitor? Fledgling CIA operative Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is pondering whether or not he’s made a mistake in his choice of profession.

Weston is stuck manning a safe house in South Africa dreaming of that big move to a more popular city. That is until cucumber cool Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a rogue CIA agent, becomes his first house guest in over a year.

Frost, a freelance information trader, or perhaps traitor, turns himself in to the U.S. embassy for protection after a dodgy deal with an MI6 agent gets ugly. He is held at Weston’s safe house awaiting extradition back to America. His stay doesn’t last long as everyone wants to get their hands on the intel Frost carries.

All Weston wants to do is deliver his house guest and be promoted, or at least, so he thinks. We could tell you the ending, but then we’d have to kill you.

Full of action, espionage, technology, conspiracy and more action, Safe House delivers.

We say, “See it if you need a solid spy fix.”

HOWE: I liked the way they gave some depth to Reynold’s character, with small glimpses of him interacting with his girlfriend, Ana, to show some emotion. On the other hand, you have Washington’s tough, no one messes with me or I will blow you away, no questions asked character.

TAYLOR: I didn’t know Reynolds could act; it was a pleasant surprise to have him be something other than cocky. I liked that Washington didn’t say much, yet always seemed to know what was going to happen next.

HOWE: The chase and fight scene through the shanty town was well done, it was a nice touch of filming rather than just your regular car chase scenes that most blockbuster movies use nowadays.

TAYLOR: Many films are getting shot in South Africa lately and I did enjoy the dichotomy of Cape Town, modern glossiness aside desperate poverty. The cinematography was typical action film style, which is to say, suffering from shaky-camera syndrome. (Although I’ve seen worse.)

HOWE: If you liked the Bourne trilogy, Safe House is a nice little filler till the Bourne Legacy comes out this summer.  It has everything you need, great characters, explosions, chases and bad guys. So what if it’s predictable and clichéd, we love these films, therefore we keep on watching them.

TAYLOR: There are a couple surprises along the way that make the journey fun. I enjoyed the film’s subtext, that there are no good or bad guys, not in this business. This was a smart film and people who understand the realities of the modern spy game will appreciate the lingo, protocol and poignancy of this seemingly simple tale.

Howe gives Safe House 3.5 stolen files out of 5.

Taylor gives it a clearance level 3 out of 5.

The film is currently screening at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

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