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'Safe House' plot easily forgettable but cast powerful

Movie Review
By: BY Frank Miller Special to the News Messenger
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If Denzel Washington isn’t careful, he’s going to wind up getting typecast as … Denzel Washington. The actor is one of many who get away with gliding by on his natural charisma as a leading man. The problem is that many of Washington’s characters wind up feeling like carbon copies of each other. It’s difficult to determine if that means Washington is phoning in the performance or if he’s just mastered the art of one specific type of role. Washington stars as Tobin Frost, an alleged traitor to the United States who is captured in an attempt to buy and sell top secret information. He is transported to the titular safe house, a secret and secure government location run by Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) where hush-hush interrogations are held. However, a suspected mole wants Frost dead and it’s up to the wet-behind-the-ears Weston to keep Frost in custody while getting to the bottom of a corrupt investigation. This is the type of role Washington performs in his sleep. His Frost is equal parts witty and empathetic. He’s usually cocky and the smartest man in the room but not without a semblance of moral character. It’s actually Reynolds who does the more impressive acting in the film, replacing his fast-talking, sarcastic persona with a more reserved and wide-eyed performance that fits his character and solidifies his dramatic chops. There are a number of action sequences dynamically shot and filled with suspense but they hinge on a flimsy plot that never manages to find a compelling hook for the audience to invest in. It’s a trifle of a story that is easily forgotten and probably would have been relegated to the backburner had it not been for the star power attached to the film. For Washington, “Safe House” is yet another wasted opportunity to reinvigorate his career, one that is stuck on repeat like a record skipping on the same great song. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer. ---------- "Safe House" Director: Daniel Espinosa Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Vera Farmiga Rating: 3 out of 5 stars