If you're in the CIA, don't ever attend any 'team building' activity. There's every chance you won't make it out alive. Betrayal and double crossing are job hazards when you're with the American Intelligence agency.
It takes young Ryan Reynolds a while to learn this in Safe House but you and I watch the opening credits roll with the comfortable knowledge that betrayal and treachery will take place. Lately, I have been rather surprised at some of Denzel Washington's choices and so too apparently is Hollywood since Denzel had to produce the movie himself.
There's no novelty value to the story. Idealistic naive rookie wants to prove himself and ends up with his illusions shattered - much like my illusions of Denzel. Some things just didn't add up. "You're a good boy" says Denzel to Ryan as he hands over the chip that everybody else wants. "You're better than I am." But we don't know that. All we know is that Ryan is a stickler for protocol. How is he a better man than Denzel's character. That said and a few similar glitches aside however, the story is taut and well told. The action sequences were realistic, exciting and well executed. The cinematography was unimaginative but decent. The acting too was competent. Ryan Reynolds was a bit of a surprise since he actually managed produce some facial expressions from time to time. And when he didn't emote, he just took off his shirt and all my complaints were silenced. Denzel occasionally disappointed me though with a blank expression on his face as if he was just waiting to get through the shoot.
So was it a great film? Will it ever become a classic? No. Was it a watchable enjoyable film? I have to say - yes. Go watch it this week because next week is going to be chock-a-block with must-see movies!