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Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard ... see more see more... , Ruben Blades , Nora Arnezeder , Robert Patrick , Liam Cunningham , Joel Kinnaman , Fares Fares , Jena Dover , Stephen Rider , Daniel Fox , Tracie Thoms , Sara Arrington , Kenneth Fok , Bryan Van Niekerk , Nicole Sherwin , Pope Jerrod , Allen Irwin , Jake McLaughlin , Aidan Bennetts , Vernon Willemse , Traian Milenov , Dumani Mtya , Thembaletu Tyutu , Oliver Bailey , Roy Taylor , Boris Martinez , Stephen Bishop , Scott Sparrow , Justin Shaw , Fana Mokena , Jody J. Abrahams , Dirk Stoltz , Craig Palm , Craig Hawks , Tyrone Dadd , Tilly Powell , Lynita Crofford , Tanit Phoenix , Abdul Ntotera , Ayabonga Mtekeli , Nambitha Mpumlwana , Lelethu Nongalaza , Namhla Tshuka , Simphiwe Mabuya , Louis Gouws , Jerry Mofokeng , Robert Hobbs , John C. King , Bruce Young , Aidan Whytock , Geon Nel , RubÉn Blades

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the ... read more read more...South African safe house he's remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead. -- (C) Official Site

Flixster Users

64% liked it

117,010 ratings


53% liked it

177 critics

DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012

Stats: 6,986 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (6,986)

  • June 24, 2013
    Eh. S'okay.
  • March 31, 2013
    A decent action/thriller with a few twists. You know you are always going to get a good performance out of Washington. Maybe it could have done with a bit more action, it did seem to slow down quite a bit in parts. Overall though a good entertaining film if not anything new or gr... read moreoundbreaking.
  • January 27, 2013
    Bourne is black... I mean back. No wait, this is the wrong review.

    All jokes aside, it delivers high octane action enough to please action junkies alike. And with a premise that's somewhat interesting, "Safe House" is (wait for it...) a SAFE BET. LOL, GET IT?

    Sorry, now really ... read moreall jokes aside, you're not going to spot anything new. You're gonna get the shaky cam and the breathless editing; you're gonna get the gritty fisticuff action; you're gonna get the conspiracies and whatnot. So don't come here thinking that this is gonna be something exceeding the likes of the Bourne series. However, it emulates the Bourne series excellently with a surprisingly dynamic relationship between Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) and Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). So it's an above-average, enjoyable action thriller but a forgettable one.
  • November 22, 2012
    While hardly breaking any new ground, Safe House has enough style and intrigue to keep you watching, in spite of knowing exactly how it will turn out (and hoping somehow that the script will suddenly get inventive and surprise me).

    It isn't that the action isn't fun and that t... read morehe chase scenes aren't interesting - for they are... and much better than the gratuitous chase scenes that fill so many an action film; and it isn't for lack of a star to make you take notice; for Denzel is at his smooth, glib best here, carrying the slick smile and easy manner that hides his no-nonsense, mess with me and I'll kill ya core.

    And yet... somehow you just know that you've seen it all before... rogue agent bucks the system he used to work for, blah blah - yep, Born again Bourne (I've always wanted to print that!!!).

    There is some suspense, especially dealing with Denzel's escape from the first trap, and then the subsequent attack on the safe house, but thereafter the film seems rote - and the only thing keeping you guessing is who controls the "other" force trying to get at Denzel, and is there a double agent within the CIA, and if so, who?

    Funny thing though, during much of the action and set ups, I found myself asking "is this plausible?" and wondering if the motivations, or the how's and why's made sense - which I guess means that I was interested in what was going on, but that the film did not capture me to the point where I was just rolling along with the action. To the film's credit, much of what I was wondering did get explained, so there weren't a lot of "fill in the plot hole by convenience". About the only real stumble takes place around the soccer stadium - where many a weirdly garbed fan is mulling about outside the stadium... while the game is going on inside! WTF??? Wouldn't these rabid fans be in their seats inside once the contest starts?

    But that blunder aside, we get to view some nice cinematography - lighting, angles, and saturation are all quality. Script wise, Denzel's lines are poetry and there is a nice bit of chicanery used to fill in some of the missing points - having the CIA chief demand intel on certain persons of interest while in the war room... of course the film then overuses it, which is just plain lazy.

    In all, not a bad film, just not a really good one... entertaining to a point, and with the Denzel factor making it worth recommending... just wonder how I'd think of this without his splendid performance.
  • October 7, 2012
    Engaging and exciting. Denzel Washington gives his typical, strong performance...although it is "typical" in that his character really isn't much different than what you've seen before in several other films. Of course, Ryan Reynolds is always a treat to look at for two hours r... read moreegardless of the film.
  • September 20, 2012
    Excellent film both Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds play a awesome part. In light of the recent invasion in to the US Embassy in Libya, this movie is realistic and full of action and suspense. A great movie if you have blue ray or a huge screen TV. 5 stars 8-19-12
  • September 16, 2012
    Without a doubt, the first thing that sticks out about this movie is that it is basically Tony Scott (may he rest in peace) light.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing either, as there are far worse reference points that director Daniel Espinosa and his crew could have made. Taki... read moreng place and shot on location in Cape Town, South Africa, this is the story of Matt Weston, a young, inexperienced low-level agent for the CIA who works as the house keeper for one of the agency's many safe houses.

    One day, legendary ex-operative turned traitor and international criminal Tobin Frost is brought in after over a decade of evasion. He's taken to Weston's safe house, but, after the place is raided by mercenaries, the pair must band together and go one the run to find out who is after them, and why.

    Okay, so aside from the Tony Scott influence, the other major notable thing about this film is that it is a rather routine action thriller. There's an impressive cast that got assembled for this, and they make the best of what they're given to work with, but this really isn't all that remarkable of a movie.

    However, it is quite entertaining, the camera work and locations are great, there's plenty of action, and there are two fight scenes in particular that absolutely knock it out of the park in terms of being stunning sequences. They're not quite to the level of what Soderbergh did with Haywire, but they are certainly close to that territory.

    Washington really doesn't break new ground as Frost, but he's proven to be quite solid at this sort of thing. Plus, it shows his dedication since he allowed himself to actually be water boarded for the role, if only for just a handful of seconds per take. Reynolds likewise was decently cast even if this isn't one of his best movies. He was decently convincing, and it was fun seeing him go toe to toe with Denzel.

    As for the supporting players, we get appearances of varying lengths from Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepherd, and Ruben Blades among others. They all do okay, but I really hoped they all could have been given some meatier stuff to work with.

    All in all, I probably shouldn't rate this movie this high, but I can't help it. It delivers the thrills as expected, it's entertaining, and, like I said, it has two fights scenes in particular that are just incredible.
  • September 15, 2012
    Reynolds and Washington were well together,with the fast paced action pack...
  • September 1, 2012
    Daniel Espinosa's crime thriller, Safe House, only goes so far.

    The film's first act is where the story thrives. The intrigue factor and character setup is rock solid; however, as the plot progresses, the excitement and mystery slowly fizzle away, leaving a final act th

    ... read moreat is partially dry when compared to the beginning.

    The action is of decent quality and the violence is pretty mild for a picture with a R rating. There are some spurts here and there worth noting, but all in all nothing memorable.

    Denzel Washington delivers another character that is enjoyable to watch; brimming with confidence that overpowers Ryan Reynolds or anyone else in the picture. Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, and Sam Shepard round out an underused cast.

    Safe House does run its course for a 110 minutes and ends up as a good watch, just not a great one.

  • July 15, 2012
    If you need a powerful performance for serious high quality espionage/wartime/crime type thrillers then you call on Mr Washington, its common knowledge. 'The Pelican Brief' 'Man on Fire' 'Inside Man' 'Courage Under Fire' 'The Manchurian Candidate' etc...the man is a serious actor... read more and doesn't do silly summer blockbuster fare.

    That in mind who better to use in another serious espionage double cross thriller that looks as if it was directed by Ridley Scott. The film could almost be a sequel to 'Man on Fire' its so similar in terms of plot development, action sequences, locations and the character Washington plays. Well OK its not exactly identical but you can see what I mean.

    So we swap the hot humid sweaty conditions of Mexico for the dry heat conditions of South Africa. Washington is an ex-CIA agent turned criminal who gets procession of a disc containing lots of dirty secrets about the CIA and other agencies. Its up to the inexperienced Reynolds to protect him, even though he doesn't really want to.

    The whole film plays out as you would expect but unfortunately like too many other films you may have seen. What you get throughout is directed and filmed with outstanding quality and high production values but its not really very original.  The action is top notch and certainly so extremely realistic you can taste the tension. A lot of deafening gunfire, fist fights that make you wince, some brutal car chases and crashes and all filmed within highly atmospheric real locations or sets.

    So the problem is its just by the numbers and you know its all gonna end in double cross and just know it!. Without giving the game away there will be a lot of what I just said, but surely you all know that, its common practice in films like this hehe. The plot is simply your basic structured thriller which  includes all the basic ingredients that are usually required.
    Using some top actors for the main roles of course helps but it doesn't hide its short falls I'm afraid. I'm pretty sure most people will probably deduce what Gleeson is up to and the obvious fact that the top ranking suits in the story are most probably hiding something. Always the same with these high rankings US officials in thriller films.

    Ruben Blades has probably the most common role in a film like this, he is an old time friend who Washington's character retreats to in a time of need. There is a small sequence where they reminisce, then they get down to business as 'Frost' requires his help one last time, then of course the bad guys find them in their 'off the beaten track' location and Blades' character is killed. Just as quickly as he is introduced he is killed off, merely a stop gap for the main character to get some vital last minute help and refuel as it were.

    If you wanna see some excellent action set pieces then you can't go wrong here. Alas that is all your gonna get really as the plot is chock full of all the regular thriller/espionage cliches that we have all seen before. Its not a bad film, its very very well made, its just old hat. It also seems to try and morph into a 'Bourne' type concept right at the very very end, almost hinting at a sequel which might take Reynolds character into familiar territory.

Critic Reviews

Bruce Diones
February 26, 2012
Bruce Diones, New Yorker

The film's super-saturated look and quick cutting are mere substitutes for any real sense of intrigue. Full Review

Nigel Floyd
February 21, 2012
Nigel Floyd, Time Out

While director Espinosa hones in on the ambiguous battle between Weston's idealism and Frost's cynicism, British cinematographer Oliver Wood - who filmed the last two Bourne movies - shoots the hell o... Full Review

Rex Reed
February 14, 2012
Rex Reed, New York Observer

This is a naive director with so little insight you wonder what comic books he's been reading. Full Review

Colin Covert
February 13, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

I won't deny that the movie hooked me with sheer brute energy and dragged me along with it most of the way. Full Review

Richard Roeper
February 10, 2012
Richard Roeper, Richard

Nothing really new here, but the cast is first-rate. Full Review

Rafer Guzman
February 10, 2012
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

"Safe House" has just enough bone density to emit some satisfying cracks and pops whenever the action gets going. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
February 10, 2012
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

Whatever its flaws, the film gives you no chance to get bored. Full Review

Tom Long
February 10, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

"Safe House" is a safe bet if you're in the market for a conspiracy-driven action drama. There are times you wish it wasn't quite so safe, but it does deliver the bang for your bucks. Full Review

Joe Williams
February 10, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

While other stars of his generation stoop to self-parody, Washington stands tall. We cannot tell a lie: Yes, he makes us nervous, but in a good way. Full Review

John DeFore
February 10, 2012
John DeFore, Washington Post

As fun as the movie occasionally is, it can't make its own drama convincing, much less give Reynolds the nudge he needs toward Matt Damon-ville. Full Review

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    • Tobin Frost: I'm already in your head.
    • Tobin Frost: Too long a sacrifice. Can make a stone of the heart. O' when may it suffice?
    • CIA Analyst: You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
    • Tobin Frost: I'm your only enemy tonight.
    • Matt Weston: I'm taking you in.
    • Tobin Frost: I don't want you to turn me in. [shoots wall]
    • Harlan Whitford: We'll take it from here.

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Safe House Trivia

  • which of these is NOT a disguise worn by PATRICK STEWARTS character in safe house  Answer »
  • Where is the safe house in The Contractor ?  Answer »
  • What is the name on the door of the safe house in The Contractor ?  Answer »
  • In Mission Impossible, what tips Ethan off to the fact that his former boss, Phelps, is still alive and is in fact the villian?  Answer »

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