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Safe House Movie Review; Starring Denzel Washington

Safe House Movie Safe Bet to be #1

By Todd A. Smith


            Academy-Award winning actor Denzel Washington (Glory, Training Day) is one of the best thespians of our generation.  His repertoire of work puts him in the same category as the legendary actor Sidney Poitier.  That fact alone should let moviegoers know that anything he attaches to his name will be legendary, and the Safe House movie is one of the best films so far in 2012.

            Washington plays Tobin Frost, an ex-CIA agent gone rogue.  The movie finds Tobin and CIA rookie Matthew (Ryan Reynolds) in Cape Town, South Africa.  Matthew has been on the job for 12 months and is desperate for some respect and real work within the agency.  Tobin is definitely well-experienced but has turned his back on his country by selling classified intelligence to foreign countries.

            After surviving an assassination attempt by people intent on getting secret intelligence that he acquires, Tobin turns himself into authorities at the United States consulate in Cape Town, knowing that his life is being spared but not his freedom.  As a result of betraying his country, Tobin undergoes the same harsh interrogation treatment usually reserved for foreign terrorists, such as water boarding.

            When Tobin is transferred to the safe house supervised by Matthew, the young CIA agent gets the live field action he desperately desires, for better or worse.  Matthew finds himself, along with Tobin, the target of assassins and eventually the target of his own bosses, believing he has gone rogue like Tobin.

            The Safe House movie is an edge-of-your seat thriller to say the least.  Not because of the usual violence and high speed chases that are common in suspense films, but because everybody and everything is not what it seems.

            The traitors are not necessarily the traitor and the imprisoned sometimes are more knowledgeable of the world around them than their own captors.

            Although we do not get the opportunity to dig deep into Tobin’s psyche, we are able to learn a lot about Matthew.  We learn how difficult it is to keep a relationship when your entire life is built on a lie, and we learn how his naiveté turns into a realistic maturation with one real CIA assignment.

            The Safe House movie is not the type of film in which you accurately predict who dies and who does not.  However, the movie’s only fault is that audience members, if observant, will quickly see who can and cannot be trusted within the CIA.  The film exposes conspiracy theories that many Americans hold about our government officials, as well as exposing how power corrupts one’s decision making, which can quickly lead to violence in an effort to get rid of one’s dirty laundry.

            Obviously, Washington is his usual stellar self in front of the camera, but the Safe House movie shows the growth of Reynolds, who cannot only play in cheesy romantic comedies, but can diversify his style to adapt to many genres of film.

            And on a weekend in which men must diversify their recreational activities as a result of the final football game of the season being completed, the Safe House movie is one reason to get out of the house and enjoy your first weekend in 2012 without in-house gridiron entertainment.







Smith is publisher of Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

This article was published on Friday 10 February, 2012.
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