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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Safe House

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is just completing his first year as a CIA operative. Assigned to Cape Town, South Africa, he is the housekeeper of a safe house should the CIA need to hide or interrogate someone in that part of the world. But he has a girl friend he wants to spend more time with, he’s bored, and he complains to his boss Agent Barlow (Brendan Gleason) in Washington, D.C. that he wants a new assignment, a real assignment.
Then by some fluke a rogue agent who was last seen two years before, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), appears and lots of people want him dead. He meets with an agent from Britain’s MI6 spy agency to buy a computer chip with damaging information and is assassinated right after. Frost takes refuge in the U.S. Embassy and the people at CIA Headquarters in Langley are caught completely off guard.
Although Frost tells the CIA interrogators there he will tell them everything, they water board him anyway. But here come the bad guys who kill this CIA team, headed by Robert Patrick of “Terminator II” fame. (I can recognize him anywhere.)  Matt has to keep Frost safe but this proves impossible because Frost wants to save his own life, release the information, and in a way, he cares about not killing innocent people like Matt. When the CIA tells Matt to step down, he decides on his own to recapture Frost.
From the moment I saw the trailers I knew that Denzel was not the bad guy, and this film is so predictable that the only reason to watch it is to see strong “manly men” performances. The fine talents of Vera Farmiga are wasted in this film where she plays a wimpy CIA boss who is never convincing.
What makes “Safe House” different from other spy action thrillers is the degree of violence; it is intense and incredible as is the chaos that Matt, Tobin Frost and the bad guys cause in Cape Town.
The film is certainly a critique of the CIA and the government’s torture policies but a two-hour series of car crashes, explosions and gunfights cannot make up for a film that just is not very good. All the character development is placed on the capable shoulders of Denzel, but if you look, you’ve seen the facial expressions, knowing looks, keen intelligence and quick moves before. The last time he was in South Africa was as real life anti-apartheid hero Steve Biko in “Cry Freedom” (1987). I liked that film so much more.
Ryan Reynolds was named by “People” magazine as 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive. I will let others be the judge of this because I don’t think looks or sex appeal makes him a great actor.  He’s an ok actor and seemed very out of place as a CIA agent and miscast as an action hero—all we have to do is remember him as the Green Hornet last year.
If Ryan Reynolds’s Matt was bored, imagine me.
Same old, same old.

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Gianna Beretta Molla: 
		<p>In less than 40 years, Gianna Beretta Molla became a pediatric physician, a wife, a mother and a saint! </p>
		<p>She was born in Magenta (near Milano) as the 10th of Alberto and Maria’s 13 children. An active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia and opened a clinic in Mesero. Gianna also enjoyed skiing and mountain climbing.</p>
		<p>Shortly before her 1955 marriage to Pietro Molla, Gianna wrote to him: “Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.” She and Peter had three children, Pierlluigi, Maria Zita and Laura. </p>
		<p>Early in the pregnancy for her fourth child, doctors discovered that Gianna had both a child and a tumor in her uterus. She allowed the surgeons to remove the tumor but not to perform the complete hysterectomy that they recommended, which would have killed the child. Seven months later, Gianna Emanuela was born, The following week Gianna Beretta Molla died in Monza of complications from childbirth. She is buried in Mesero.</p>
		<p>Gianna Emanuela went on to become a physician herself. Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified in 1994 and canonized 10 years later.</p>
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