Monday, 14 January 2013

Safe House

Now for a film only  released last year. Safe House is a USA production made in South Africa and where a depressing picture of the national Secret Services of the USA, the UK, Israel, Germany and other European countries is painted as riddled with corruption, illegal practices and attempted cover ups.

Matt Watson played by Ryan Reynolds has joined the CIA full of enthusiasm and is trained as a field agent but  for his first assignment sent to South Africa to run a Safe House and communications centre Tobin Frost played by Denzil Washington was a former CIA agent who has been working freelance for ten years and has obtained a file on an electronic device which he injects into his body for safe keeping. What the file contains stretches all credulity in that it includes the details of the corrupt actions of individuals in the various national security services already mentioned. How the information has been collated is not explained, unsurprisingly.  When he is being hunted down he approaches the USA consulate in Cape Town. For some unexplained reason this master spy does not calculate that the men chasing him are from one the security services about whom the file reveals their dark dealings.  Back at CIA headquarters using all the latest gismos they quickly establish who he is and determine to move him with an extraction team from the Consulate to the Safe House for interrogation .

At the Safe House Watson is upset about the use of Water suffocation torture but before he can express any concern about the matter the alarm signals that the security system has been breached and the cameras reveal that about a  dozen heavily armed men are approaching. The extraction Team are all killed, but Watson has removed the prisoner just in time and although untested in the field he is able evade capture  by the top men after them. He goes on the run to a small hotel and makes contact with his employers.

We are introduced to three key member of the National CIA  headquarters. In addition tot eh man overall ion charge, the Deputy Director of the CIA, Brenden Gleeson plays the chief field manager called David Barlow who knows Watson and trusts him and who is responsible for the extraction team now all killed. Caroline Linklater played by Vera Farmiga appears to have Operational Control at the  centre and is concerned about how the assassins were aware of the location of the Safe House and that Tobin would be taken there. She speculates Watson is working with him all along.  Barlow tells Watson to attend  a National Stadium football game and go to a public access locker where there will the information of another Safe House to take the prisoner. Tobin creates a scene and escapes, pursued by Watson  but both men are captured by the stadium police. Tobin escapes  killing/wounding those taking him the stadium First Aid area. Watson also escapes but  kills/wounds a policeman in self defence.

During their time together Tobin attempts to explain how dark, self protective and  disregarding  of international and national laws and regulations the agency has become. He went on the run after attempting to expose the fact that he was ordered to kill an innocent man so the CIA could replace the individual with one of their operatives.  Watson remains distrustful of Robin but nevertheless is concerned about the ability of the enemy to find and enter the Safehouse. He begins to trust no one.

After losing control of Tobin he accesses records from an Internet Cafe on the location of a former CIA contact known for providing false documentation in a shanty town on the outskirt. He is accurate in his assessment that Washington has made for the man, now a family man, for documents to get out of the country, However his arrival coincides with that of the enemy who kill the man and his wife although their children may have been saved. Tobin goes on the run along rooftops with Weston following in an open truck and rescues Washington and they go the  second Safehouse out of town in an isolated farm dwelling where Washington is the prisoner but Reynolds also treats with suspicion the Safehouse keeper, with justification as it transpire.

In exchanges back at eh CIA headquarters the film appeared to indicate that the woman Linklater is the most likely high level traitor  but when she and Barlow are told to go to South Africa and then meet up at Cross roads approaching the Safehouse  Barlow kills Linklater and we known he is the traitor, or is he? It is  only when both Tobin and Weston Reynolds are wounded, Tobin dies that along with Barlow and the Safehouse man that Weston is told the nature of the information on the electronic device. This is high level CIA cover and  mass murder.

Although badly wounded we next see Reynolds recovered and the Deputy Director reading his written report. The Deputy explains that sections of the report will have to be edited in the national interest and they eh will expect discretion on the part of Reynolds. He also quizzes Reynolds about the information file but Reynolds denies any knowledge of this. This reveals that the attempt to kill Tobin and recover the incriminating evidence goes all the way to top.

For his good work and agreement over his report Watson accepts promotion as a senior case officer and a posting to Paris. After leaving the CIA headquarters we see him transmitting an electronic file from his phone. There is the newspapers and media coverage about the anonymously circulated file disclosing corruption and illegal practices on the part of several secret services with Parliament and Senate inquiries in the UK and USA noted and the apparent arrest of the CIA Deputy Director.

Before all these events Reynolds was in a loving relationship which a Frenchwoman working in South Africa who was unaware off the nature of his work. As soon as the safe house is  raided and he goes on the run he makes his way to the woman and persuades her to return to France, after admitting his role and that problems had arisen. The film ends with him watching the girl at a street cafe and she looks up and see him. Now which film did IO see the same situation recently? What happens next is ambiguous but as with Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol a sequel is promised.,

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