Anybody pinching their pennies is well aware that to physically step out of your house and go to a theater to see a movie is a luxury, especially in this tough economy. So, I wanted to offer my two cents to all the movie lovers who are considering going to see Safe House. But, let me begin by admitting this: There is something about the way Denzel Washington portrays a “not-so-good” guy that serves as a reminder of why I like him so much. (I’m just sayin.)
Now that I’ve owned up to that biased opinion I’ll just keep it moving. Since I’m in the midst of working my plot development skills in fiction I thought I’d use a basic writing exercise to break down the gist of the story to you.
*Protagonist: Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a frustrated CIA agent who is also the bored-to-death “housekeeper” of a low priority government safe house in Cape Town, South Africa used to hold/interrogate criminals.
*The Protagonist’s Want/Need: To move up in rank and be transferred to a more exciting position preferably in France. Weston keeps getting passed over for better jobs because of his lack of experience.
*Antagonist: Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a smooth talking rogue CIA agent who for nearly 10 years has been looked at by the government as a traitor and terrorist for selling classified U.S. information to other countries.
*The Antagonist’s Want/Need: To move about the world freely while sticking it to the U.S. government and making a whole lot of money in the process.
*Inciting Incident: When Frost has a meeting to pick up some valuable and highly classified information things go bad fast forcing him to dodge bad guys and flee for his life by turning himself in to the U.S. Consulate. Frost is arrested and brought to Weston’s safe house. As soon as the interrogation begins all hell breaks loose when the safe house is compromised and the same bad guys after Frost force their way in and start shooting up the spot. When the more experience CIA agents are all killed Weston is forced to make the life-changing decision of what to do with Frost.
*What’s at stake for the protagonist?: Weston can either (1) punk out and turn Frost over to the bad guys in hopes of saving his own life or (2) prove to the higher-ups at the CIA that he has what it takes to be promoted by leaving the building and taking Frost into his own custody.
Of course to advance the plot Weston chooses option No. 2. Without giving anything away I’ll just say that from that point on there are a bunch of car chases, lots of shooting and fist fights, a ton of lies told and lots of running on shanty town rooftops. While in and out of Weston’s custody Frost tries to school the young agent on the practices of the good old boys in the CIA, which ultimately makes for a fairly believable relationship between two men forced together under those particular circumstances.
Like any good movie watcher I make it my mission to figure out the twist before it happens (because there is ALWAYS a twist, or should be anyway). It thrills me to the core when movie makers find a way to stump me (like with 1995 hit The Usual Suspects. Didn’t see that ending coming at all.) Unfortunately this was not the case for the Safe House. I was able to figure out who the real bad guy was pretty early on. But don’t let that discourage you from going to see the movie. Overall I liked the flick and felt no need whatsoever to demand my money back. I found it to be a nice change to see Reynolds actual act in a serious role instead of popping off a bunch of jokes every few minutes like he does in most of his movies. Now, I won’t go as far as to say that the thriller is neck-n-neck with any of the Jason Bourne movies, but I will tell you that Washington’s performance alone is well worth an hour and 55 minutes of your time.
So, in my opinion it is safe to see Safe House.
Until next time…
Photos: screenrant.com, beyondhollywood.com
Before you go “leave a comment” by answering these two questions: (1) If you’ve already seen Safe House what did you think of it, and (2) what is your favorite Denzel movie?