Safe House

Denzel Washington & Ryan Reynolds? Gotta see this one then! Safe House is  2012 political action thriller directed by Daniel Espinosa, starring Washington & Reynolds and co-starring Vera Farminga, Brendan Gleeson with small roles for Joel Kinnaman & Robert Patrick. The movie deals with the corrupt world of international espionage and the dealings of the CIA.

Tobin Frost is a an ex-CIA agent turned international criminal, acquires a file from renegade MI6 agent Alec Wade. Attacked by the mercenary Vargas, he enters an American consulate and is moved to a CIA safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. The safe house is managed by Matt Weston, a low-level CIA agent who is itching for some action and would relish a meatier assignment than being a “housekeeper” for a safe house. He watches from the one way mirror as veteran agent  Daniel Kiefer interrogates Frost and subjects him to waterboarding.  Vargas and his men attack the house, killing off all the CIA agents, save for Weston who was asked to keep an eye on Frost. Weston & Frost escapes in a vehicle the former commanders and Weston contacts his mentor, David Barlow, at CIA headquarters. Catherine Linklater, another CIA operative, intercepts the call and orders Weston to lie low and call back later.

Weston hides Frost in a hotel room and then calls his French girlfriend Ana, who doesn’t know about Matt being a CIA agent. Barlow later tells Weston to go to a football stadium and retrieve a  GPS device with the location of a nearby safe house. At the stadium Frost fakes his abduction and cop arrest the two of them. Frost escapes his apprehends by killing them, leaving Weston to fight his way out and track him in the stadium crowd but is unable to capture him back. Weston is ordered to visit the nearest American embassy for debriefing. Instead he meets with Ana, where he reveals that he is a CIA agent and sends her away for her safety. He then finds out about Carlos Villar, a forger who lives in a shanty town and is an old contact of Frost. At Villar’s house, Vargas and his men shoot and kill the forger and his family but Weston is able to help Frost to escape in his vehicle.  They learn that Vargas is actually working for the CIA, which is seeking to retrieve the files Frost received from Wade. It is revealed that the files contain detailed information of corrupt activities by many intelligence agencies, including the CIA itself, and that Weston’s own superiors may be implicated.

Weston takes Frost to the safe house where he is attacked by the “house keeper” there. Injured and bloodied, he pleads to Frost not to leave him behind and then faints. When he comes to Barlow, who is Vargas’s employer and has killed Linklater, is sitting by his side He confirms that the file contains incriminating evidence against him, and encourages Weston to lie about what has happened. Frost returns to rescue Weston by killing Vargas and his men but is shot by Barlow. Weston then shoots Barlow in the chest, killing him. Frost gives Weston the file and tells him he is better than Frost before he dies from his injuries. Weston makes his way back to the US and goes to Langley,  meets with CIA Deputy Director Harlan Whitford, who informs Weston that unflattering facts about the CIA must be removed from his report, but that he will be promoted. He asks Weston about the file which Matt feigns ignorance about denies having been told about it by Frost. Whitford states that whoever has those files will have many enemies. Weston leaves, then leaks the files to the Internet, incriminating personnel from many intelligence agencies, including Whitford. As the movie ends, we see Weston meeting Ana in Paris, making eye contact before disappearing.

Intriguing and engaging although I found the production could have been a bit better. I still liked the movie a lot; 8 out of 10!

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