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.




Source Code – Movie Review

U.S. Army captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a train. He doesn’t know how he got there. He doesn’t know who the girl in front of him is and why she’s calling him Sean. He’s disorienteted. He says he’s not Sean. He’s a U.S. Army captain whose last mission was in Afghanistan… and soon enough, the train blows up and Colter Stevens wakes up in what looks like a capsule, being talked to by a woman named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga).

Colter Stevens is told he’s inside the “Source Code”, a program that takes him back to Sean Fentress’ last eight minutes of life, before he died on the train heading to Chicago that morning. He’s supposed to find the bomber because a second attack is planned, one that would take the lives of millions of people. And so Stevens is taken back to the train many times, each time discovering that the sequence of events isn’t necessarily the same as before and thinking that maybe he could change the events altogether.


The intricacies of “Source Code” are not the main mystery about this movie, nor is the bomber. It’s Colter Stevens himself and having figured it out way early in the movie did not forbid me from thoroughly enjoying this.

Jake Gyllenhaal is the movie’s greatest asset. He fuses together the movie’s action side with a sensible side that is, with most action movies, hard to come by. I’ve been very impressed lately with many of his movies, notably Love and Other Drugs, and I thought he doesn’t let down here.

Vera Farmiga is great as usual also, even though her role is sort of limited as the behind-the-screen Goodwin who starts to communicate with Colter Stevens on a deeper level than just a military personnel directing a mission. Her role in this is more toned down than Up In The Air but it’s still great.

And Michelle Monaghan, in portraying Christina, the girl on the train, and despite the limited number of lines she was given (I mean, she does repeat the same sentence over and over again), I thought she was great as well, making you believe that Stevens could actually fall in love with her in the eight minutes they have together.

“Source Code” is not your regular sci-fi action movie. I would categorize it more as a thriller because it’s deeply more engaging than any other action movie I have watched lately. Not only do you get to connect with the characters but you really hope that, somehow, they get to be saved.

Moreover, Source Code is not void of emotions. While most of these emotions are tucked away in the end, you can’t help but be hit with them when they appear on screen. I will not spoil the center theme upon which they revolve but you will definitely feel them when you watch this.

Overall, Source Code is a thought provoking and engaging thriller. Directing in it is great as well by newcomer Duncan Jones, who doesn’t seem affected by the much dreaded sophomore slump. Are the memories that are being relived read-only data or can they be altered? Some people will not appreciate the confusion that this movie poses at certain times, especially since continuity is an issue that is very difficult to follow in movies like this (a la Inception), but overall, while watching it, Source Code will make you submerge in it. After you get out, however, and start thinking about the movie, you realize there are some plot-holes they left unanswered. Was it intentional? Perhaps so. But this is definitely one of the better movies of 2011 so far, one that I think every movie enthusiast should consider watching.