Safe House (15)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds

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The Independent Culture

An espionage action thriller that's not quite stupid enough for Tony Scott to helm, though it does feature Scott's house actor Denzel Washington as another of his secular saints.

He's a rogue CIA agent who, having sold out his colleagues, gives himself up to the American Embassy in Cape Town after eight years on the run. When the safe house he's assigned to is attacked, the "house-keeper" (Ryan Reynolds) has to help him escape; at the control centre in Langley, bigwigs Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson fret over the "intel" leaks and hope nobody's watched the Bourne movies lately.

Director Daniel Espinosa lifts most of the chase sequences from the Matt Damon school of international mayhem, and throws in some gratuitous violence of his own. A waterboarding scene is the film's way of announcing its edgy "contemporary" credentials: Washington faces off the torture with his usual cool insouciance. Does nobody else find him maddening?

Safe House is a generic slam-banger, seemingly engineered to be forgotten almost while you're watching it.