R, 115 min.
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Rubén Blades, Nora Arnezeder, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham
“Safe House” started with a premise—have a green CIA agent in charge of a safe house where he’s to babysit one of the most dangerous men in CIA custody whose former CIA status gives him an advantage, and see if the rookie can keep him contained. Once they came up with that they seem to have ended the developmental process for the plot. It is an espionage picture that is content to be exactly what it seems to be and nothing more.
Part of what makes the espionage genre fun to watch is that nothing is ever what it seems. I suppose there are some elements here that fit that. There is corruption in the CIA, and if you can’t spot who it is within the first half hour, this must be your first spy flick. It’s so obvious what is going on here that you question whether it could really be that easy. That’s the only misdirection you’ll find here. Can it be as simple as it seems? It is.