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Safe House

Year: 2012
Production Co: Intrepid Pictures
Studio: Universal
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick

Great visual style, nothing new in the plot. Along with the scrappy, desperate, warzone camera style, Reynolds and Washington have enough personality between them to headline a hundred blockbusters.

The story is about a low level CIA agent (Reynolds) who has to shepherd a high-priority prisoner (Washington) to safety while killers hunt the pair of them across South Africa and his much smarter captive wants nothing more than to overpower or outsmart him and get away.

Despite the title it actually has little to do with a Safe House. Weston (Reynolds) feels like he's wasting his career sitting around one of the secret apartments the agency keeps worldwide to transport prisoners in secret, until a very wanted man – former agent gone rogue Frost (Washington) – is bought in after giving himself up.

Weston can only watch and try to keep his conscience in check as the team in charge waterboards Frost, but he doesn't have much time to search his morals when an armed gang descend and blow the doors in, killing everyone and giving Weston a split second to escape with his prisoner.

While senior agents Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson race against the clock at home to get Matt to safety and get Frost off his hands, the pair try to stay one step ahead of the goons hunting them.

Before half of the film has even elapsed you'll bguess (correctly) two things, neither of which are particularly spoilers. First, the two will begrudgingly become friends as they save each others' lives after learning they have to work together. And second, the dirt Frost carries will go much higher than Weston or his handlers imagine.

They're just two examples of how the plot adheres too closely to a million thriller conventions, and without the magnetic charisma of the leads and the stylish visuals, it would hardly be worth remembering.

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