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Safe House

Safe House

4.5 2
Director: Daniel Espinosa, Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga

Cast: Daniel Espinosa, Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga


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A rookie CIA operative goes on the run with a rogue former intelligence officer after a South African safe house comes under attack by heavily armed mercenaries. Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent just waiting for the perfect opportunity to prove himself. But that's no easy task when you've been cooped up in an empty Cape Town


A rookie CIA operative goes on the run with a rogue former intelligence officer after a South African safe house comes under attack by heavily armed mercenaries. Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent just waiting for the perfect opportunity to prove himself. But that's no easy task when you've been cooped up in an empty Cape Town safe house for a whole year. Weston realizes that a prime opportunity is headed his way, however, when he learns that former agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) has been captured after nearly a decade on the run. Frost is about to become Weston's one and only guest at the safe house, and the fledgling agent is determined to handle the situation like a true professional. But by selling U.S. secrets to countries like North Korea, Frost has made more than his fair share of enemies in high places, and shortly after he arrives at the safe house, all hell breaks loose. A small army of gunmen are determined to see Frost dead. Meanwhile, Weston will do everything in his power to protect Frost, regardless of his crimes. Now Weston's only hope for getting out of this alive is to find out who's gunning for them, and seek out someone he can trust before it's too late.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
You would be forgiven for thinking that the Denzel Washington spy thriller Safe House was directed by Tony Scott, seeing as how the two men have worked together five times already, and the grainy, hyper-edited action sequences recall Man on Fire. In fact, it's directed by Daniel Espinosa, who brings a Scott-like feel to the story of an ambitious, low-level CIA field officer named Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) who ends up guarding Tobin Frost (Washington), a wily former agent wanted by multiple countries for selling state secrets. As the movie opens, Weston is a young agent who has seen no action in over a year while stationed in a South African CIA safe house, and he is chomping at the bit to show his bosses what he can do. Luckily, the chance to do exactly that materializes when Frost, an infamous rogue agent in possession of a computer file that would embarrass governments around the world, is brought to the safe house for questioning. After a decade off of the grid, the onetime agent has turned himself in to an American consulate in order to avoid being killed by those who would like to get their hands on this sensitive information. When mercenaries break into the safe house and start shooting everyone in sight, Weston makes the decision to escape with Frost, since losing this high-profile traitor would kill his career. Also, it's the proper protocol to follow, and Weston is nothing if not a good guy. Weston and Frost are being constantly chased during the first half of the movie, and Espinosa manages to make the whiplash editing style work for the first two major action sequences. There's an extended car chase that gives the audience a really good sense of what Weston is experiencing, even though we can't get a handle on the big picture. We don't have a great sense of where the cars are in relation to each other, but when the action moves inside Weston's vehicle, we understand what our hero is trying to accomplish from moment-to-moment as he's driving and fighting with Frost simultaneously. The breathless opening 45 minutes are a solid example of effective modern action filmmaking, but when the picture slows down for Frost to get a fake passport from an old friend (Ruben Blades) while also sharing a philosophical moment with him, the movie never gets back on its feet. That scene is followed by a chase through a heavily populated South African neighborhood, and here the montage overwhelms any ability to understand exactly what's going on; we just wait for it to end so that we can find out what happened -- and the same holds true for the violent set pieces that close the film. Washington is in his easygoing-rogue mode here, and it's one of his most appealing personas. He's done variations on this character so many times, but he's one of those rare actors who can be menacing and charismatic in equal measure, so it hasn't grown stale. He's able to sell the idea that Frost is a master at psychology, able to manipulate those around him, and as always, Washington savors getting to emphasize the character's dark side. As for Reynolds, he's better when he has something to do than when he has to emote -- he's more believable in an extended fistfight than he is breaking up with his girlfriend, but that might have as much to do with the writing as with him. The supporting cast, including Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga as higher-ups back at CIA headquarters keeping tabs on Weston, do what they can with secondary roles that haven't been fleshed out much beyond their usefulness to the plot. It's easy to lump Safe House in with any number of pedestrian Denzel Washington action films from the last few years, but the fact that it's a notch above them for its first half ends up hurting the movie in the long run because it fails to follow through on that promise -- it settles for being merely OK. Safe House is, sadly for Washington, annoyingly safe.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Sales rank:

Special Features

Making Safe House; Hand-to-Hand action; Building the Rooftop Chase; Inside the CIA

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Denzel Washington Tobin Frost
Ryan Reynolds Matt Weston
Vera Farmiga Catherine Linklater
Brendan Gleeson David Barlow
Sam Shepard Harlan Whitford
Rubén Blades Carlos Villar
Nora Arnezeder Ana Moreau
Robert Patrick Daniel Kiefer
Liam Cunningham Alec Wade
Joel Kinnaman Keller
Fares Fares Vargas
Jena Dover CIA Analyst
Stephen Rider CIA Analyst
Daniel Fox CIA Analyst
Tracie Thoms CIA Analyst
Sara Arrington CIA Analyst
Kenneth Fok CIA Analyst
Bryan Van Niekerk Linklater's Assistant
Nicole Sherwin Whitford's Assistant
Pope Jerrod Beck
Allen Irwin Greer
Jake McLaughlin Miller
Aidan Bennetts Ericksson
Vernon Willemse Velez
Traian Milenov Vargas Lieutenant
Dumani Mtya Vargas Lieutenant
Thembaletu Tyutu Vargas Lieutenant
Oliver Bailey Vargas Lieutenant
Roy Taylor Vargas Lieutenant
Boris Martinez Strip Club Mercenary
Stephen Bishop Marine Guard
Scott Sparrow Marine Guard
Justin Shaw Private Security Guard
Fana Mokoena Officer-in-Charge
Jody J. Abrahams Stadium Cop
Dirk Stoltz Stadium Cop
Craig Palm Stadium Cop
Craig Hawks Stadium Cop
Tyrone Dadd Stadium Cop
Tilly Powell Woman Trampled
Lynita Crofford Reporter at Stadium
Tanit Phoenix Hostess
Abdul Ntotera Businessman
Ayabonga Mtekeli Boy
Nambitha Mpumlwana Illana
Lelethu Nongalaza Ernestine
Namhla Tshuka Villar Daughter
Simphiwe Mabuya Villar Son-in-Law
Louis Gouws BMW Driver
Jerry Mofokeng Man at Mint
Robert Hobbs Morgan
John C. King CNN Reporter (Himself)
Bruce Young CIA Aide - S.A.
Aidan Whytock CIA Aide - S.A.
Geon Nel CIA Aide - S.A.

Technical Credits
Daniel Espinosa Director
Christopher Assells Sound/Sound Designer
Scott Aversano Executive Producer
Brigitte Broch Production Designer
Sam Conway Special Effects Supervisor
Dino R. Dimuro Sound/Sound Designer
Ramin Djawadi Score Composer
Raine Edwards Makeup
Marc D. Evans Executive Producer
Alexa Faigen Executive Producer
Sarah Halley Finn Casting
Terry Flowers Special Effects Supervisor
Carl Fullerton Makeup
David Guggenheim Screenwriter
Jonathan Hely-Hutchinson Art Director
Shira Hockman Art Director
Trevor Macy Executive Producer
Pablo Maestre Art Director
Susan Matheson Costumes/Costume Designer
Cordell McQueen Special Effects Supervisor
Adam Merims Executive Producer
Richard Pearson Editor
Alan Shearer Production Manager
Peter Staubli Sound/Sound Designer
Scott Stuber Producer
Denzel Washington Executive Producer
John Wildermuth Asst. Director
Oliver Wood Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Safe House
1. Chapter 1 [4:52]
2. Chapter 2 [8:52]
3. Chapter 3 [4:59]
4. Chapter 4 [5:13]
5. Chapter 5 [5:28]
6. Chapter 6 [7:52]
7. Chapter 7 [4:03]
8. Chapter 8 [3:18]
9. Chapter 9 [3:46]
10. Chapter 10 [8:19]
11. Chapter 11 [4:04]
12. Chapter 12 [6:08]
13. Chapter 13 [4:15]
14. Chapter 14 [5:07]
15. Chapter 15 [4:57]
16. Chapter 16 [4:50]
17. Chapter 17 [3:11]
18. Chapter 18 [6:09]
19. Chapter 19 [8:50]
20. Chapter 20 [5:18]


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Safe House 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago