Safe House (2012) Movie Lame Ending

I don't judge bang 'em up action movies with the same art house eye that I might when watching where I expect exceptional film craft; however, every now and again I notice that there is something small that could be done to the outcome of an action movie that would take it from a relatively safe crowd pleaser to an avante garde level of awesomeness ala Luc Besson (think Leon the Professional, or La Femme Nikita). Warning: reading beyond this will completely spoil the movie for you, but on the other hand, it's so predictable that it won't really matter. In the actual film, the bad guy is Brendan Gleeson's character, who kills Vera Farmiga, and eventually causes the death of Denzel Washington's character near the end of the film. Ryan Reynolds plays out the plot line by realizing the corruption in the CIA by exposing his big boss and his cronies in the media with the micro chip that had been tossed around throughout the movie. Denzel Washington's super cunning Tobin Frost character is dead, and Ryan Reynolds walks a hero, is re-united (sort-of) with his girlfriend in Paris, and all the bad guys get what they had coming to them — lame.

In my ending, Brendan Gleeson would not have been the bad guy, but rather Vera Farmiga, and Vera would have killed Brendan — not the other way around. Denzel Washington would have miraculously faked his death, Ryan Reynolds would have killed Vera Farmiga, and then exposed the scandal to the media, only to be offed by Denzel Washington in the end. Tobin Frost lives. The end.

What's wrong with letting the bad guy win once in a while? After all, Tobin Frost wasn't all bad, but just walking alone in a moral grey area. All that said, I did like the movie for what it was — fun, relatively senseless action. What do you think?

Comments imported from old blog:

  1. Mark (@markvitan) on Sep 10, 2012 9:17 pm | | Edit

    You’re absolutely right. It was non-stop action (i.e. shoot, kill, shoot, kill) for pretty much the length of the movie. All the bad guys die – with a few innocent bystanders too, of course – and Ryan Reynolds’ character walks away the unsung hero. I just don’t get this neat and tidy ending. Are we expected to believe that his gf will just continue from where they left off? He admitted that everything he told her from the beginning was a lie, so are we to believe that she’s now ready to start fresh? It was just one of the things that bugged me about it. I quickly get over it when I realize how much I enjoyed the carnage though. :-)

  2. David Marcus on Nov 27, 2012 9:23 pm | | Edit

    Denzel is too religious to be in a movie where the bad guy wins. He’s even forced rewrites for this reason

  3. Mark I don’t believe Ryan’s character and his gf are going to go back together because he’s on the run from the CIA corrupted officials. Like another Tobin but not for self benefit. But why not? They both had feelings for each other and he let her go to keep her from harm. The old saying, if you love someone enough you will let them go for their benefit.

Chris Stenberg is a creative director, photographer, filmmaker, and traveller. In his spare time you can find him biking and boarding in the mountains of British Columbia.