In advance I had high expectations for this movie, two very good actors in what I was hoping to be a very good story. The actors delivered, the story not.
Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a former CIA agent but now on the most wanted list for leaking secret information about the CIA, is brought to a secure location (called safe house) for interrogation. The ‘housekeeper’ of the safe house is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). When the safe house is attacked, Matt gets away with Tobin. On the run for the men who attacked the safe house, Matt has to wait 12 hours for back-up from the CIA. In the meantime his task is to keep Tobin alive and under his custody. However, Tobin is master in manipulating and does not plan to stay captive by Matt that easily.
Safe House starts with a blast and got me immediately dragged into the story. From the beginning the movie got my focus, but more importantly, the movie was able to keep my focus by the nice and exciting but also realistic action scenes. Regarding this, the rather unknown director Daniel Espinosa did a good job. Where many directors would be tempted to make action scenes spectacular, he kept them simple and realistic. Spectacular scenes are nice to see but because of their unrealistic nature are able to get people dragged out of the story. Safe House managed to keep them realistic, and exciting at the same time.
The downside of this movie is that the story evolves in a very predictable way. Somehow the movie is made into an ordinary conspiracy film. Throughout the movie it’s obvious who’s behind all of it, so the plot was disappointing. I was hoping to see a surprising ending, but the movie failed to deliver.
The performances of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds are again splendid. The combination of those two in an action movie/thriller really lifts the film up to a higher level. Ryan Reynolds as the inexperienced Matt Weston versus Denzel Washington as the experienced and calm criminal Tobin Frost was magnificent to see. The two start the movie as rivals. While Matt sees Tobin as the ideal opportunity for promotion, Tobin lacks respect for Matt because of his inexperience. This is very well highlighted in the movie when he decides not to kill Matt because he claims to kill only more experienced agents. But throughout the movie the mutual respect grows in a believable way. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds bring their roles and especially their relation to each other to its fullest.
Despite the predictable story, the movie is very entertaining with great acting performances. I would recommend other people to see this movie.