Safe House Dir: Daniel Espinosa

No one is safe in a CIA Safe House, where allies may be enemies and lies are told so often they sound like the truth. When young rookie Matt Weston (the perpetually confused-looking Ryan Reynolds) unexpectedly finds himself guarding dangerous intelligence mercenary Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) he finds himself being challenged by more than just Frost’s garroting attempts.

The lines between good and bad, love and lies, self-protection and selling out are blurred as Weston attempts to remain loyal to his country, his girl and his employer, but develops an allegiance to his unwilling charge. Though Reynolds comes across as a bit of a dufus, Washington is charming and hirsute-eyebrowed Brendan Gleeson (as CIA man David Barlow) is as cool and cagey as ever.

The film is beautifully shot of course, and features some stunning South African scenery. A choppy editing style is at times disconcerting and makes fight scenes hard to follow. However in a final scene where Weston surfaces from a fight covered in blood and minus some youthful innocence, we don’t need Frost standing there watching him to know that a new, damaged Weston has emerged from battle.

There are one or two holes in the story, but overall this is a tight and gripping action suspense with more jumps than a kangaroo on a trampoline.

Kathryn van Beek