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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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Fidelis of Sigmaringen: If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life. 
<p>Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor. </p><p>As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers. </p><p>He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions. </p><p>He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed. </p><p>He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog Obedience means total surrender and wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. All the difficulties that come in our work are the result of disobedience.

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