I confess, I only got this movie because Ryan Reynolds is hot. And Denzel Washington is a great actor (and really good looking too). I honestly knew nothing about the subject, and sadly, I was disappointed. Perhaps I should have based my decision to watch it on something with more substance. Live and learn.
Reynolds is a CIA agent, kind of. He's so low-level that his job is to house-sit a "Safe House" in urban South Africa. He's been there a year and never had a guest at this house. Meanwhile, Denzel is being chased by bad guys through the streets and in order to save himself, he turns himself in at the US Embassy. He's actually a former CIA agent who went rogue, left the agency and became a bad guy. So he is brought to the "Safe House" and is supposed to be questioned, but the same people who he was running from have now found him. So the "Safe House" wasn't actually safe.
Back in Washington, Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga are arguing about what to do with the newly acquired rogue agent. And they're pretty sure they've got a mole once the "Safe House" is breached. But we know that Reynolds is a good guy, so he tries to do his job and keep Denzel safe. So they run around South Africa for a bit. They discover the mole. Some people die. There's a few car chases, a few shoot outs. Meh. I know I should be able to give you more details about why this movie is good or isn't, but it just wasn't exciting enough (in terms of caring what happened) to merit much discussion. Reynolds is pretty good as the "goody-two-shoes" agent who just wants to serve his country and do what he's told. This makes him good prey for Denzel's "older and wiser" agent who has lots of secrets to sell. Denzel does a pretty good guy on the edge, but we aren't really given enough back story about anything to really care. For starters (and this REALLY bothered me watching it), they never tell us what makes a place a "Safe House". It obviously can be found by bad guys, and it's not underground or in a particularly secure neighborhood, so what makes it safe. A minor point, but a really annoying one since they put it in the title.