Safe House – Movie Review

In Safe House, Denzel Washington stars as Tobin Frost, a former CIA agent who has gone rogue after all his work with the agency. Upon procuring valuable information from an MI6 agent, Frost is chased down by armed men in Johannesburg and seeks shelter in the American embassy, after which he is taken to a safe house, pending investigation.

The safe house is run by Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a CIA spy who’s really not more than a housekeeper. Soon enough, however, the house turns out to be anything but safe when the location is compromised, the CIA squad protecting Weston and Frost is killed by armed men who start chasing both Frost and Weston seeking out the information that Frost possesses. As both men run for their lives, Weston is confronted by Frost’s questions as to how the safe house was compromised? is there a traitor amidst the CIA top officials? And what’s in the information that Frost possesses that could get someone that important worked up?

Safe House can be summarized in an idiom: same old, same old. While Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds work really well with the material they are given, the movie remains: less about story, more about action sequences. And at some points the action sequences are top notch. However, due to the redundancy and familiarity of the story at hand, the movie gets dull at certain times and drags on, especially when there are no action sequences to leave you transfixed. Those times, however, are minimal.

Ryan Reynolds is likeable as Matt. Denzel Washington is fierce as Frost. Vera Farmiga, who  also stars in Safe House as Catherine Linklater, a CIA official trying to get Frost and Weston to safety, is also an interesting addition to the movie. In a way, Safe House boasts an all-star cast that helps it level up its somewhat mediocre déjà vu storyline and turn in into something that will entertain you.

At the end of the day, Safe House is an energetic movie. It might have its slow moments but those are too little to get you deterred from the rampant path the movie is on. The movie also boasts some very beautiful African scenery and despite some lack of character development, as is expected in such movies, Safe House doesn’t slack off. While the plot’s ultimate lesson goes along the lines of “been there, done that,” with it being: trust no one, it doesn’t come off as saccharine or even forced. It’s a natural progression of the plot at hand. So simply put, Safe House is a movie that will entertain you during its run. My only problem with it is that its two hour run could have been comfortably shortened by at least fifteen minutes, without damaging the progression, as well as it not taking a risk with going new places with its plot. Apart from that, not a bad movie to watch on a Friday night.




Buried – Movie Review

Buried - Movie Poster

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. contractor based in Iraq. He wakes up and finds himself buried six-feet-under in a wooden crate, with nothing to soothe him except a phone that is set in a language he doesn’t understand and a zippo lighter that’s consuming the very air he’s breathing.

To say this movie is every claustrophobic’s worst nightmare is an understatement. The movie runs for over 90 minutes and features nothing but Paul Conroy inside his coffin. The only hint of an outside world comes in the form of many phone calls that are made, to help move the movie forward, and provide Paul Conroy with a way to seek salvation.

You cannot but draw similarities between this movie and 127 Hours. After all, they both rely heavily on one lead, the rest of the actors/characters being only very secondary to the overall picture. And similarly to 127 Hours, Buried features a very strong performance by Reynolds. I had no idea he had it in him, to be honest, after the series of romantic comedies he was in. However, to say that he comes within a remote distance of Franco’s epic performance in 127 Hours is a gross overstatement. If anything, Buried further cements the idea that not every actor/actress can handle this type of movies, which makes Franco’s feat even more impressive.

Buried is a movie that drags its main character to the depths of fear and despair and drags you down with him as well. And although it doesn’t rely on taking the settings of the movie outside the box it’s set in, the movie wouldn’t have gone anywhere except for the interactions between Paul Conroy and the people he calls, similarly to 127 Hours’ use of flashbacks and imaginative sequences. It is, however, an out-of-the-box movie, for all matters and purposes.

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