Animadversion: Safe House – Reviewed By Farheen Jawaid

The review of Safe House was published in our column “Animadversion” on March 11, 2012. This post is the unedited version. Links to Dawn are at the end of the post.


Safe House. Really?!?

By Farheen Jawaid

Glimpses of Bourne Identity and Tony Scott are evident as day, in this Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds starrer titled Safe House – a film which runs fast on action and low on breaths of surprises.

Safe House doesn’t have a lot of intelligence story wise and primarily runs on the old hackneyed plot of an ex-legendary agent (Tobin Frost, played by Washington) gone rogue. Soon in the picture he gives himself up to the CIA for reasons of his own, and is right away taken to one of the CIA’s safe houses for questioning. The caretaker of this particular safe house is a rookie CIA agent named Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). As CIA agents get their hands dirty with waterboarding Frost, the safe house gets attacked by mercenaries. Weston then has to keep both himself and Frost safe as they go on the run, with Frost set to escape on every opportunity.

The anchor of Safe House is Washington – and a bored one at that. He looks laden with secrets that he’s not telling. Reynolds on the other hand looks sincere and pushed. Throughout the movie he was the only one who looked surprised at what was happening.

Safe House is the first Hollywood movie for Swedish director Daniel Espinosa, as well as a first feature film for writer David Guggenheim. With cinematography by Oliver Wood (all Bourne films) and editing by Richard Pearson (The Bourne Supremacy) you can’t go against the visuals, clean and edgy as they are.

The running time of 1 hour 50 minutes doesn’t leave much room for the supporting cast, but still we get grounded performances by Vera Fermiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard (all superior CIA officers), and Nora Arnezeder who is Reynold’s French love interest.

Giving everyone above a healthy checque, Safe House is one of those “of the season” generic action flicks that are neither annoying nor rememberable.

Released by Footprint Entertainment, the film is rated R, and is currently playing in screens across Pakistan.

The published version of the review is at:

And it looks likes this in the paper:



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