Safe House (2012)

Out Now On-Demand

No one is safe.

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in this action thriller, set in South Africa, about a young CIA agent forced to go on the run with the fugitive he’s supposed to be guarding.

Matt Weston (Reynolds) is a young operative tasked with babysitting the former-agent-gone-rogue Tobin Frost (Washington). When a band of rebel soldiers bombard the safe house and destroy the facility, Weston hastily tries to escort Frost to another secure location. As the situation deepens and malicious intentions are revealed, the two form a hesitant partnership.


Directed by

Action, Thriller


Rating: M contains violence & offensive language

USA, South Africa

Official Site

Without South Africa the cinematic world would have missed out on District 9, Clint Eastwood¹s Rugby World Cup movie, Charlize Theron and the bad guys from Lethal Weapon II. The country¹s now the setting for espionage actioner Safe House, but adds little to this paint-by-numbers exercise other than providing a location for a familiar blend of double-crossing and shaky-cam violence.

Paying a clear debt to both the Bourne films and Tony Scott¹s filmography, Safe House never makes a clear choice about which way it wants to go and ends up being an unfulfilling blend of gritty realism and over-the-top kinetic editing. It constantly tries to maintain a pace that never gives its competent cast a chance to breathe and it never makes the most of a supporting cast that includes Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson. Their interchangeable intelligence roles compete with the film¹s villains for the least important characters award, pushed off the screen by Washington and Reynolds who, to their credit, share some good moments together.

It¹s also to the film¹s credit that they¹re not pushed into the typical odd couple role that two guys on the run from assassins would normally require, not rookie/experienced or goodie/baddie but something a little more complex. If only Safe House had more of this instead of thinking its convoluted plot and overfamiliarity was something new and exciting.

A.V. Club (USA)


Gets off to a strong start, but the tension slackens halfway through and never recovers.

Entertainment Weekly (USA)


Action-movie porridge gussied up into a less-clever-than-it-seems mystery.

Hollywood Reporter


Dramatically, the film hangs together well enough but the repetitive nature of the action and lack of stylistic shadings and nuance ultimately prove rather grinding.

Los Angeles Times


A take-no-prisoners action extravaganza that doesn't stint on either bullets or brutal hand-to-hand combat.

New York Daily News


Devolves into unexciting action scenes that feel left over from the Bourne flicks.

New York Post


May strike you as a brilliant movie, provided you’ve seen fewer than, say, 10 spy thrillers. I’ve seen more than 10 spy thrillers.

Time Magazine


An efficient spy chase film.

USA Today


A bracing action thriller made all the more watchable because of its two lead performances.

Variety (USA)


A viciously energetic South Africa-set actioner that makes up in sweaty atmosphere and brute force what it lacks in surprise.

Village Voice (USA)


Scattered but not totally disagreeable CIA conspiracy thriller.

Safe (as) House's

Safe House

Great film that allowed for the passing of control from different actors throughout the picture. Like 'cat & mouse' films but at least the camera was mostly still. Reminded me of a 'Bourne' series but with a partner instead of a girl. Both Ryan an Denzel work well in their roles and this helps bring this action flick to life. Great pop-corn piece and enjoyable action scenes, that make sense!!

Genre : Action, drama, thriller, polictical, mystery

3/5 : good but not great, I'd even watch it twice

Denzel is great

Denzel plays Tobin Frost a CIA operative who has gone rogue.Matt Weston played by Ryan Reynolds is a young man working in the CIA who wants more experience. He gets the experience of a lifetime, when Tobin falls into his Safe House. This is a fun thriller. Worth seeing just for Denzel's great acting. Not a classic though.

Extract from

Extract from

Despite the critical waterboarding Safe House has been getting I actually rather enjoy the film. Clearly influenced by the Bourne Trilogy (although not nearly as burnished) I found the picture sustainable despite its limited one-note plot progression. Even with its somewhat lackadaisical conception Safe House is able to maintain the viewer's attention. With both skilful Cinematography by Oliver Wood and 'Sensei 'like editing from Rick Pearson we are treated to a sensory overload. Together Oliver and Rick are seemingly able to manipulate time, on occasion the harmony between shot selection and cut bordered on organic. From a geeky perspective, I feel this attention to detail may be overlooked when considering the films place in the annals of cinematic history. Also It wasn't surprising to learn that both minds played a part in the aforementioned Bourne Trilogy in their respective fields. Visually Safe House could have easily slipped into the franchise.

why did they all speak french in South Africa?

I don't get why he was speaking French tothe policemen in S.A. The trailer is misleading, this movie has a crusty ending, and drags on at times. Characters are never clear cut enough - you got Ryan Reynolds playing innocent kid who totally throws everything out the window at the end, even when he was told not to (why!?!) and then you got Denzel who is supposed to be a manipulative highly intelligent traitor who turns out to be a father like figure who just 'decides' not to kill Ryan at one point. Absolutely stupid, story AND characters aren't thought out well at all. And, I may not have been to Johannesburg before, but Ryan was always speaking french to people. Is french a top language there or something? Don't watch, waste of money.