Film Review: Safe House

Safe House is a little by-the-numbers, but is a decent action thriller. Those looking for a tense, action-packed film are unlikely to be disappointed.

Matt Weston is a young CIA agent desperate to attain more field experience. Having to supervise a safe house in South Africa, Weston’s day suddenly gets interesting when notorious rogue agent Tobin Frost is brought in for questioning. As the questioning commences an interruption leads Weston to make a life-changing decision…

Writer David Guggenheim offers a fairly predictable plot for this genre. Nevertheless, Safe House retains a sense of mystery by not revealing the contents of the file for the best part of the duration. This works well to reel viewers in, keeping the audience guessing over the secrets which could be exposed.

There is one element of Safe House which seemed to have been dumbed down. A clue is over-emphasised by way of a flashback. Director Daniel Espinosa should give his audience more credit at being able to recollect details from the past hour; it is not as if the film is overly complex, or crammed with superfluous detail. Otherwise, Espinosa’s direction is fine. The crowded shots and shaky camera work well to set the tone, and help to amplify the action-heavy sequences. The sound is bombastic. The noticeable loudness heightens tension and gives the film an air of brashness.

The twist in Safe House functions well. It is not amazingly imaginative, but is not expected either. The film is very contemporary in terms of themes. There is a link to current affairs that is unambiguous. The comment made by Safe House seems to fit in with most other thrillers of this type. The film distinguishes itself by its reference to a current new story, one that should not pass anyone by.

Denzel Washington is as good as ever. His character Frost is interesting as far as the film retains the ambiguity over his motives. Ryan Reynolds puts in a competent performance as rooky agent Weston.

Safe House is not the type of film that lingers long after viewing. Nevertheless, it does the job of entertaining throughout, just as good action thrillers should.