Safe House
Year:
2012
Country:
USA, Japan, South Africa
Genre:
Crime, Thriller, Action, Mystery
IMDB rating:
6.8
Director:
Daniel Espinosa
Vera Farmiga as Catherine Linklater
Stephen Rider as Richards
Jenna Dover as CIA Analyst
Nora Arnezeder as Ana Moreau
Fares Fares as Vargas
Joel Kinnaman as Keller
Rubén Blades as Carlos Villar
Liam Cunningham as Alec Wade
Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston
Denzel Washington as Tobin Frost
Tracie Thoms as CIA Analyst
Sam Shepard as Harlan Whitford
Brendan Gleeson as David Barlow
Robert Patrick as Daniel Kiefer
Storyline: Matt Weston ( ) is a CIA rookie who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost ( ) the CIA's most wanted rogue agent is captured and taken to the safe house. During Frost's interrogation, the safe house is overtaken by mercenaries who want Frost. Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen's sight until they can get to another safe house.
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Reviews
Danzel Saves What Really Is A Mess
It's an interesting albeit predictable action flick that's nothing special but delivers enough to make it worthwhile. It does feature what has to be the dumbest CIA operatives/handlers ever put on film. What transpires, especially early, will make most viewers say "why in the world didn't they just…" but getting past that means enjoying a film where Denzel Washington perfectly menaces and charms his way through every scene. Put just about anyone else in this role and the film would lose a lot. Ryan Reynolds was good enough and the rest of the stellar supporting cast is absolutely wasted. Again, I found it interesting despite it being three repetitive acts of mindless turns highlighting that the government is pure evil and they apparently keeping hiring the same set of mindless goons who race around guns blazing everywhere with little effect or competence whatsoever. Also, the camera work was AWFUL in terms of the overuse of the shaky cam.
2012-02-10
Denzel Defies Life and Death in Action-Packed Espionage Thriller
Denzel Washington returns in this gritty espionage crime thriller, playing mild-mannered, smug anti-hero Tobin frost in the engagingly suave, signature style fans have come to love.

Once considered a topnotch CIA operative, Frost is now a renegade ex-agent whose reputation rivals his Oscar-winning rogue cop character in Training Day.

After eluding capture for almost a decade for allegedly selling government intelligence, he's brought to a remote safe house for debriefing. But the damaging info he holds provides the real suspense factor that keeps viewers completely on edge.

The action turns wildly fast and unpredictable when the isolated South African site is attacked, and frustrated novice agency 'house sitter' Ryan Reynolds (Matt Weston) barely escapes with his fugitive 'houseguest' in-tow.

Seizing the opportunity to prove himself worthy of full fledged officer status, Weston is forced to rely upon Frost to help him discover whether they are the targets of inside man while being under continuous threat. It gets extremely high-energy packed and adrenaline fueled as the two become hunted prey fleeing an unknown enemy possibly within the CIA.

The life and death situation climaxes in testosterone overdrive to bring about a surprising, though gratifying conclusion that seems to end abruptly.

However, it won't be apparent. That is, unless you see the additional footage shown after the closing credits.
2012-09-11
Casey's Movie Mania: SAFE HOUSE (2012) Review
Swedish-born helmer Daniel Espinosa (2010's EASY MONEY) makes his first Hollywood directing debut in SAFE HOUSE -- a cat-and-mouse thriller that apes the hyperkinetic feel of Tony Scott, shot in a gritty style of THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004) and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007). With two idealistic pairing of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, it's easy to expect that SAFE HOUSE would be an edge-of-the-seat crowd pleaser -- at least for its pulse-pounding first 30 minutes. But the movie gradually loses steam and hardly recovers, with haphazard pacing and overlong exposition. Blame it on the first-time screenwriter David Guggenheim who doesn't offer nothing new or surprising to his generic screenplay. Everything here plays by-the-numbers. Even the action are getting lackluster at each passing moments, right until the lazy and surprisingly anticlimactic finale.
2012-04-13
doesn't let up the tension. Reynolds & Washington are firmly on the action hero map!
Denzel Washington in a film more or less guarantees it's gravitas and/or watchability; the man is an acting demi-god. Ryan Reynolds is always good for a laugh, good to look at and is very slick but I'd not seen him do mega-action before (Green Lantern doesn't count): CIA agent running tough throwing himself around with die-hard commitment to role ie all physicality and gung-ho! Welcome to Safe House. Oh my goodness what a roller-coaster film. Wish I'd seen it at the cinema on the big screen, and the DVD had been of sufficient quality to not interrupt the flow of action.

The chemistry between Reynolds and Washington is brilliant. At first I thought that being on set with Washington was upping Reynolds' game but soon I realised they were both acting their socks off and the emotion, action, stunts, fight scenes and general all guns blazing and car chases were just superb. Clever, intelligent and twisting plot (okay not totally unpredictable) with clever use of time wobbling to make the story a fraction less linear and not spelling everything out (other than explaining that Hamburg is in Germany and Paris is in France (!)); it didn't treat the audience like idiots, and you had to jog a bit to keep up.

Brilliant film with some really incredible acting... can't emphasise that enough. Brilliant stunts, great fight segments, edge of the seat stuff. Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepherd, Brendan Gleeson and Robert Patrick were also very good, as well as Nora Arnezeder as Reynolds' French girlfriend. A very international film, filmed in South Africa predominantly, about a supposed rogue CIA agent who has a list of world wide agents and their dirty laundry that could compromise many Agencies - about who wants to keep it out of the light of day and what they will do to protect their reputations.

Oh just watch it. If you like Speed-type fast paced action, intelligent plot, Pelican Brief type intrigue and slick fluid acting/direction/script reminiscent of Ronin or Bourne you'll really get a kick out of this. Reynolds and Washington were a powerful on-screen duo. Really entertaining and enjoyable (although stressful and a little uncomfortable at times.) Must see.
2013-07-08
Formulaic Action Yawn Not Worth It
I don't use the word "formulaic" lightly, but in this case it totally deserves it. Everything that was done here you have seen a thousand times before. All the requisite telephoto sniper, associate appears for no reason in the plot to only get shot in the head moments later are there. Denzil played a character he's seen played too many times before and here he just mailed it in - played a rebel rouser who likes to outsmart everyone. When Denzil gets water-boarded, he still looked cool. Nobody saw to it that he should be a bit dishevel ? Ryan Reynolds finally got onto the big screen, I am glad; but it was not a star-maker. Reynold's youthful charm were nowhere on display. He's rather straight-laced and bland. And he is not Ethan Hawke in "Training Day". Ethan portrayed similar role but he had some kind of fu going on that Reynolds lacks. And is there anything more annoying than the bad guys announcing their presence by shooting through the window every time? One such occasion was hilarious because the guy being shot at was a professional forger, with all kinds of special gadgets, printers arrayed in the house, you would expect one would do this kind of master work of art in the privacy of a basement. No he had to have open drape and window in front of a street, or whatever it was that courses through the shanty town,all the more reason to do your work in a secure private location. The deliberate shaky camera work was deployed to the extreme, to being nauseating. Save your $$$.
2012-03-02
Watch if you like mindless shootouts
Taking into consideration the quality of Washington's previous movies, this is perhaps one of his worst ever. Endless shootouts with no purpose, flat done-to-death story. I was hugely surprised that this is what he has to say yes to and waste a year's worth of work for! I was tempted to leave 45 minutes later. And when I left when the movie was over, I regretted I didn't leave earlier. Miss it, and save your cash. I would really like to know how in hell this movie got a seven and why!

The movie is a long never-ending scene after scene of shoot outs (and as usual nobody gets hurt), and car chases that are very lame. One after the other, after the other, after the other, after the other. No thrill in it either. I cant bet you that in a few months time when many enough movie goers went to see it, the rating will drop to around 5.
2012-03-03
Found myself waiting for the movie to end.
I decided to see this film with my brother because the TV networks (not that I watch huge amounts of TV, but sometimes you simply cannot escape the ads) had been constantly playing the trailers, and in a way it intrigued me. However, once again, the axiom 'you can't judge a book by its cover' or in relation to movies, 'you can't judge a film by its trailer' come into play.

This is a spy thriller, and I must admit that I am become quite bored with these type of movies. Sometimes they are intriguing and exciting, other times, as in the case of this film, they are not. I did love the James Bond movies, and in many cases a lot of these movies (and the authors of the books behind them) are trying to capitalise on the success of the James Bond franchise. However, as can be expected, they do tend to make changes to the script to set it apart from the original.

As I said, some spy thrillers are really good (From Paris with Love, Chuck) but many of them end up being quite dull and long. This film does fall into the category of the 'Chuck clones' as I tend to call them. The reason that I set Chuck as a standard is because I really enjoyed the series. The clone aspect of it is that the protagonist tends to me a young man who wants to break into the spy world, and the movie is the first mission that he goes on, and upon success, he graduates to become a spy. In a number of cases though, the graduation results in huge embarrassment to the spy community (as in the case of this film).

Thus we can see the quest narrative playing out again, along with the theme of the character coming out on his own. In this film, the protagonist is a safe-house keeper, and is job is pretty much to mind a safe house. However, a former agent appears in the safe house, is tortured, and in the middle of the torture, the house is attacked and all the occupants, expect the former spy and the protagonist, escape. Seeing this as an opportunity to prove himself, the protagonist disobeys orders, and goes out to complete the mission.

Another theme is the idea of the passing on of a baton. We see this a number of times in Hollywood movies, where a major actor (say Sean Connery or Harrison Ford) come in as a supporting character, while a younger, up and coming actor, plays the role of the main protagonist. In a number of ways it can be seen as a major Hollywood star introducing a new actor, with a lot of potential, to take over his roles. Sometimes this happens, other times it doesn't. In my view, though, having grown up in the Eighties and Nineties, my mind tends to drift back to these famous actors of yesteryear, however the newer actors don't really impress me all that much.
2012-02-18
Engaging thriller
Tobin Frost(Denzel Washington) a former CIA agent that went rouge, and is now on the run, turns himself in to CIA headquarters, to avoid being captured by terrorist. Matt Weston(Ryan Reynolds) join the others on his first assignment, but when headquarters are shot down by the people trying to capture Frost. Matt takes Frost out of there safely, and the two soon become hunted. But who can they trust, or can they trust each other, and will they get out this alive?

I'm surprised by the bad reviews, this was a gritty real action movie, it never tries to be a simply guilty pleasure. Ryan Reynolds was great, never plays it real goofy, and so was Denzel Washington, I like how we where not sure what to of his character is he good or bad? Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleason, and Sam Shepard are also great too.
2012-02-17
Time's a-wasting. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
The 2012 Denzel Washington film Safe House is a film I have enjoyed watching a few times over the past couple years since its release. The film is action packed, with practical effects, and the acting for the most part is top notch. With Washington making so many great movies over the course of his career this film will get overlooked by many, which is a shame. I will be breaking down this film as well as the Blu-Ray special features. The following is my review of Safe House.

The film was written by David Guggenheim and his script was on the Black List for some time before it ever took off. This was his first major film and has since wrote the Nicolas Cage direct to home video movie Stolen. Thankfully it did get made as Guggenheim wrote a pretty good story. The film follows Matt Weston(Ryan Reynolds) as he is working at a CIA safe house. His job has normally been business as usual with nothing out of the ordinary going on. That is until one day former CIA agent Tobin Frost(Denzel Washington) pops back on the CIA radar. Frost is then transported to the safe house where Weston is working. Things eventually go north during Frost's interrogation when a terrorist group breaks into the safe house. Weston has to now protect Frost so that nothing happens to him. The story features some great story twists and turns that will keep your interest. So many of the films Washington does these days can be considered more of the same, but this film is very much different in terms of overall story. David Guggenhiem wrote a great story and one that will very much keep your attention.

The film was directed by Daniel Espinosa who made his major Hollywood debut with this film. He is currently working on one of the most anticipated films of 2015 called Child 44. Before this film I personally didn't know much about Espinosa, but after watching this film, I knew I was watching a great director at work. There are some very intense moments of action throughout the film. Most of the first half hour of the film has mid to high level action scenes. That really builds the momentum for the rest of the film. Not only are there some bigger action scenes like car chases for example, but there is also some intense hand to hand combat scenes. The action is done very well and is a great joy to watch. The acting is another area that is good overall. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington in the lead roles with other great actors like Sam Shepard, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Cunningham, Rubén Blades, and Robert Patrick taking up some important secondary roles. An interesting fact is that Denzel Washington was actually waterboarded during this film. No stunt double on that scene. I don't say the movie has great overall acting because I've personally never been a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds. I don't think he is a bad actor, but I just find his style to be wooden or the same in every film. Espinosa for the most part is able to bring the entire cast together for a nice well rounded film from his directing to the acting performances. If you are a big action fan like myself, this is one film you surely shouldn't miss.

The film was scored by Ramin Djawadi who is known for scoring films like Iron Man and Pacific Rim(one of my favorite scores). While this film is much different compared to those two films I mentioned, his effect is still very good. Not great like on some of his other efforts, but his score adds some nice depth in the action scenes and in the build up to the end of the film. I would personally say the score is good, but not great, but those who like a good score won't be disappointed.

In closing, after having already watched this film a few times since its 2012 release, I must say that the film is still as fun as ever. The action scenes are amazing, and minus some less than perfect acting from Reynolds, this film is a must see film. Denzel Washington fans, like myself, shouldn't overlook this film especially with Washington making many great films lately. As I said this is a must see so do so as soon as you can. You won't regret it.

As I said above, I will also be going into the Blu-Ray special features as well. The Blu-Ray for this film features seven featurettes and runs for a total of about fifty minutes. So overall no bad at all for a film like this. The behind the scenes material really breaks down some of the bigger action scenes and combat scenes to show how they were filmed. This is great to see for special features fans like myself. Some other features break down the story and the CIA aspects and how the film makers really wanted to be authentic. This home video release is truly a good buy if you come across it at a good price below ten dollars. It is well worth adding to your collection.

8/10
2014-12-29
Exceeded Expectations
"Safe House", directed by Daniel Espinosa, is more like a 7.25 out of 10. What really works for the movie is unsurprisingly a good script and 2 seasoned likable actors. The story has some novelties along with it as well, in no small part, the Safe Houses (hence the title) (spoiler) which become anything but safe. I thought the action scenes mostly were well crafted including chase scenes and close in fist-fights. ((spoiler) I especially liked Reynolds as coming off novice believably. Aside from the stupidity of having the Reynolds character bring Washington to a soccer match in public and the predictability of who turns out to be a double-crosser, the movie is a good watch. It's worth a rental anytime and exceeded my expectations. Recommended.
2012-04-13
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