Safe House (1998)
Safe House, not the new one with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds that came out not long ago but the one from 1998 with Patrick Stewart written by Eric Steven Stahl, John Schalter and Sean McLain is a movie that I use to watch all the time as a kid. It didn't seem like something I would like but I always loved it. It just always got me thinking.
Right away you feel the age of the film. The computers are so 90's. Stewart has a fake mannequin in his bed and he gets a call from someone he calls the Admiral who tells him what time it is. It turns out that this general is running for the office of President. He has a list of names on his computer and a third name was just crossed off, right after the news says that he was murdered and it looked like a professional hit. Stewart puts in a manual override stopping a signal from sending out. He is clearly a military man who has a lot going on.
Some one tries to break into his house and he opens up a cabinet full of guns that would fill the Punisher with envy. The two men fight it out until the intruder takes the maid as a hostage. He takes his shot and kills the intruder, the maid gets hit as well. Turns out the rounds were paint and the two men were practicing. His daughter is not happy. More like pissed.
She takes him to the hospital but first he puts on a disguise and hides in the back seat. He seems a bit off, like overly paranoid. He doesn't like to leave the house because he feels that it isn't safe. He tells the doctor that he isn't crazy, that he knows someone is after him and he knows who it is.
His daughter tells the doctor that her father never served in the military, that he is just making stuff up. He does have the signs of early Alzheimer's disease but that it shouldn't be causing him memory problems yet, but if it is making him this paranoid than he could go fast into full on Alzheimer's. His daughter tells her husband that she might have to lock him up, but he tells her that her father would never allow that. That the best they can do is hire someone to live in the house to take care of him.
He scares them all off one by one with his target practice. He is an expert shot. Until a woman named Andy, no relation to the asshole teacher at NLC, comes in. She plays along with everything and the daughter likes her. He wasn't going to hire her until he finds out that it is that or being put into a home. He is not happy about it.
He starts to study Alzheimer's disease on the odd chance that they are right He starts to see that he does have some of the symptoms. He goes out of his way not to be friends with his new live in help. He knows she is there to help him but he is not a fan of hers. He doesn't want to believe that he needs help.
She tries to change his diet and he freaks out, truth be told I don't blame him. I'd have her fired right on the spot for that. No one messes with my food! He goes out of his way to piss her off as he should. He has started to forget simple words, such as code. The disease is starting to attack him so he starts doing memory tests and playing games to help improve his mental state. He doesn't take any of his meds. Truth be told that is probably for the best. There is a van that has been parked outside his house for days and another name from his list has been crossed off.
The help tries to put Stewart in his place but he doesn't take any of it. He snaps at her hardcore like. He won't let someone come into his house and take over. The admiral is on the way to town. Something he is not happy about.
His mental tests are getting worse and worse. He is having a harder and harder time holding on to information. The help finds out that he went through her room and is pissed. They get into a big fight about it and moments later he comes out with his gun, she thinks that he means to use it on her but she spots a rope dropping into the house and then spots him getting jumped by a man in a mask. His help saves his life by beating the masked man with a golf club. She finds out that it is his friend and plays along by not telling his daughter what happened.
The two of them start getting along. We think that they are having sex for a moment before finding out that they are just having really good dessert. He tries playing the guitar and forgets the cods and then starts repeating himself. He catches himself. The next couple days everything starts getting harder for him. He messes up putting together his gun, his aim is off. When he focuses he can remember things but when he says things that are simple he forgets things and gets them confused.
There is what looks to be c-4 under his daughter's chair. It turns out that it was just another one of his friends tricks. His daughter tells him that if he ever does something like that again she will put him in a home. Her husband tells her that she needs to get power of attorney. They are taking away his guns and there are no more war games for him. It's the end of what he lives for. The admiral is winning the election. He is on his way to the national.
Steward misses the games because they kept him sharp, his house keeper replaces it with chest. He isn't into it so she tells him that he can do his drills. She beats him and forces him to go outside. He puts on swat armor on before agreeing.
He starts to lose it, shooting into the ground to kill pests. He might have really lost it by now. Even his friend who use to do the drills with him has turned against him. Everyone thinks he has gone over the edge. Stewart's old team is all but gone. He tries to put in his override to stop the transmission but he keeps getting it wrong. He just can't seem to remember it. He gets it on his last try but it was a close one.
He can't seem to hold onto new thoughts anymore. He starts forgetting people's names. He is taking a shower when someone cuts his power. He is in the dark. His emergency power kicks on and he goes looking for the intruder. There are two attackers this time, telling him that it isn't a drill.
It's his friend and the house keeper, he hits them and they hit him but he freaks out and starts crying and screaming. He admits that they are right and he can no longer defend himself. It terrifies him. He goes to the doctor, not dressed up for once and even agrees to take the meds the doctor tell him. It means that he has to leave the house every week and he agrees to it. He has changed. The doctor tells him that any stress could make him forget everything. His house keeper watches him take the meds every day. They seem to help which is good since he is the last of his old unit still alive.
He can walk outside now and everything. All his old habits seem to be dying off. His housekeeper is changing him for the better, although he still hides guns all over his house. She takes him dancing in his own backyard since he still won't go out t a club.
We learn that the admiral had senators killed back in the day. He still believes it but his house keeper still doesn't. He sleeps in his own bed for once. He is starting to slip up. He is also falling for her more and more each day. A car tries to run him over but he pushes the house keeper out of the way and opens fire. It turns out it was just his neighbor.
The three of them plan on going through the house and taking everything from him that could be a weapon. He has spent his whole life collecting weapons. His family is taking everything from him. He manages to save one sword that is 300 years old. They take everything else. He keeps the sword with him everywhere he goes.
He has to go check the mail and it's a new guy he doesn't know. The only weapon he has is a knife. It freaks him out. He leaves the mail man outside while he goes for a pen but the guy comes inside and give him a pen. His daughter has gone to court to try and get power of attorney. The meds aren't working anymore. He is getting worse and worse. He is starting to doubt himself more and more as time goes on.
His house keeper is watching his personal logs, who the hell does she think she is to go into his private office and watch his videos? He goes to make another log and finds out that she was watching his videos. She tells him that she was just worried about him. He throws her own words in her face. She convinces hi that she is on his side. He believes her and tells her about his deadman switch. If he doesn't reset it every day it sends the life story of himself and the admiral to every news source in the world. He asks her to help him escape the country. He offers her half a million dollars if she will help him. She agrees.
The next morning he awakes with a nightmare of being killed, he finds his house keeper trying to hack his e-mail. She is trying to crack his deadman switch on her own. He pretends to have slept through it all. He leaves the house and follows her, he put a tracking device on her car. He follows her to her house where she gets some bags and puts them in her trunk. He breaks into her house, it's a mess and full of junk food. Doesn't fit with who she says she is at all. Not to mention that most of the house is empty. She even has one of those spy phones you see on the movies.
It seems he was right all along and the government is after him and the one person he started to trust is out to get him. When she is in the restroom he pulls out her cell phone, she spots him and pulls out her own gun. She tells him that if she doesn't believe in honor like he did. She isn't a soldier, she's a merc. He has no guns and she has one on him. He either has to give her the deadman's switch or die. He won't give her anything. I mean what is the point of a deadman switch if you just give it up.
His friend shows up and spots the gun and tries to be funny but she kills him and steward pulls out one last gun and kills her. He gets shot in the arm. He arms the deadman switch and fires it off. All the files are now sent out to all the news outlets in the world. He starts to clean up and then stops and calls 911, he can't remember what happened any more. His mind is gone, it was all too much for him.
It is a sad sad ending, he took out the admiral and lost his mind at the same time. As I said at the start of this, I love this movie. It is so good. It makes you think and makes you feel. This is an underrated masterpiece and everyone needs to check it out. They don't make movies like this anymore. It's gold!
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