No One is Safe in the Safe House: a Review


Tobin Frost sounds like Keyser Soze or Darth Sidious or Lex Luthor. A name always in the minds of his enemies. A legend. Formidable one whom you don’t mess up with, at least in the minds of the protagonists.

Or at least, in the movie Safe House, directed by Daniel Espinosa, stars Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Liam Cunningham and Nora Arnezeder.

Denzel Washington from Safe House

Denzel Washington is Tobin Frost, an ex-CIA agent turned international fugitive, who obtains a file containing very confidential and incriminating information from MI6 agent Alec Wade (Liam Cunningham). Hunted by Vargas in Capetown, South Africa, Frost surrenders himself in United States Consulate. Probably his last refuge having to stay away from the men who are hired to kill him.

He is brought to the safe house taken care of Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), the CIA safe house housekeeper, for interrogation by a team hired by Catherine Linklater (Farmiga), one of the heads of CIA. What turns out is while the interrogation associated with whiteboarding takes place, a group of men ransacks the safe house to kill Frost.

Nobody knows the men who try to kill him. Nobody knows who sent them. Tobin Frost is not surprised though. Tobin Frost has clues.

Safe House is not a mediocre action movie. If you got the chance to watch this movie, grab it. It will liberate your senses and it will take you to a whole new deep realization of what the government Intelligence in the US and other countries are really up to, both in the world of fiction and in the real world.

It will make you believe what lies on the outside world. Betrayal, deceit and lies are what seem to be a normal practice in real life.

Action scenes are breathtaking. Car chases, gun fires, fist fights are unique. They are not those what you most see in action movies. The plot is alright. The performance of characters are just right for an action movie, except Denzel Washington’s, where he performs so naturally, as what he really does in his other movies, as those of Training Day and Man of Fire.

There is something fascinating about the character of Tobin Frost at the beginning of the movie. It makes you want to think that Frost is the bad guy, but as the movie keeps rolling you will soon discover that he is not the villain after all.

Many circumstances in the real world where you think the good guys are the good guys and the bad guys are bad, criminals, evil, menace to society; but soon you realizes the complete opposite of everything.

You will contemplate that in the real world the good guys are not always the good guys. Sometimes-if not most of the time–the good guys in the eyes of the police and public are the real scoundrels, and the people they are after, fugitives and most wanted criminals, are the righteous ones.

This moral is realized here. As in a safe house, where CIA guests invited should always be safe. In the eyes of the CIA, people inside this house should be safe at all times. But in this case, no one is safe inside the safe house.

When your mentor tells you something like, “You did a fine job, kid. We’ll take it from here.” That’s when you know you are screwed up. That’s when you know you’re doing the right thing.

There are scenes in this movie that reminds me of Training Day, where Alonzo (Denzel Washington) and Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) two police officers talking to each other about idealisms of a rookie and the real, ugly nature of their jobs on the streets.

Alonzo lecturing about the real evils that exist in the outside world, that idealism should be broken, put into a trash can where bums in New York can always pick it up. If you’re a newbie, innocent and full of idealisms, there is no choice but to throw them away and accept the reality, the evil nature of people. Everyone betrays everyone. You got to sell your soul to the devil because it’s what it is in real life.

There are two important lessons I’ve learned in this movie–at least for me: Figure out when it doubt, and, love your own name.

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