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Safe House
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Reviews & Ratings for
Safe House More at IMDbPro »

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185 out of 263 people found the following review useful:

I did not expect it to be this good.

9/10
Author: Nesvrstani from Serbia
9 February 2012

I'll be honest. When I saw the trailer, I was madly excited. It looked fantastic. But then, after a while, I remembered, that the main point of a trailer is to do just that. Hype the film, while revealing literally all the main plot scenes and parts. I didn't know if it was the case with 'Safe House', since, hey, it's Denzel Washington. That man doesn't just do any role.

I just got back from the movie theater, and am I glad that I was wrong. The movie is fantastic, electrifying. Do know that I don't just 'get off' on any action flick. In most cases, I just watch and forget. This was actually, fantastic. I don't have a single bad word to say about it, the way it was directed, acted or anything else. Everything was simply fantastic.

I realize my words sound absurd, and the score looks the same, but it really is worth it. I didn't see an action movie this well written, and this well acted in a really, really long time. Of course, by the end of the movie, any experienced watcher will figure out the ending by himself, but even though you 'get it', it's still extremely fun to sit through and see how the pieces connect.

I really hate long reviews, so I'm trying to make this one as short and sweet as possible. Lastly, have in mind that not one cast member failed his role. Ryan was fantastic, even better then I could've imagined (a nice showing of his acting skills after Green Lantern and Change-Up), and Denzel, what to say that hasn't been already said about that man's acting. Phenomenal doesn't cut it.

Go and see it. It's much better then anything else thats currently 'showing'.

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95 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

This is NOT a safe house.

Author: John DeSando (jdesando@columbus.rr.com) from Columbus, Ohio
9 February 2012

"I'm not your only enemy tonight." Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington)

In Safe House, Tobin Frost is one cool fugitive, but then he's played by one of Hollywood's coolest actors: Denzel Washington. Guarding him is young CIA agent Matt Weston played by the prominent film actor, Ryan Reynolds. Together they make good acting possible; if only this crime adventure would let them.

Instead, their moments are mere interludes to the cacophony of guns and gore, a smorgasbord of thriller clichés planted in neat rows by director Daniel Espinosa and blossoming glass and guts ad nauseam. As the cool Frost escapes numerous captures and Weston follows him (they've discovered the "safe house" is not so safe), I wish they'd sit and talk for an hour because the older agent has much to tell the younger about love (Matt has a questioning girlfriend) and survival in the den of thieves known as espionage—global that is. Frost has a computer file with the names of bad cops, some of them friends and supervisors. So nobody's safe.

Among the vulnerable are seriously good actors like Sam Shephard, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, and Robert Patrick. The shame is they have parts so formulaic as to obliterate their acting excellence.

Anyway, you get the routine. The only surprise is that this type of film continues to entertain us even when we know the plot points. In part that's because we like to see good/bad guys played by the likes of Denzel work their way through some challenging puzzles and achieve some success just as we try to do in our daily lives. Also we get to see multiple car crashes without being in them, a wish we may have subconsciously when we experience road rage.

I suggest you leave your rational hat at home (most of the plot makes little sense) and wear your thrill-seeking one because this film will fulfill all your demands for excitement without touching a nerve in your left brain.

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76 out of 95 people found the following review useful:

Nothing really new but a good choice of actors, effects and locations

7/10
Author: kluseba from Chicoutimi, Canada
22 February 2012

If you have seen conspiracy flicks like "Enemy Of The State", "The Bourne Identity", "XIII", "Unknown" and so on and so forth, you really won't be surprised by this movie. The story presents nothing new and is about the usual stereotypes: the good one turn out to be the bad ones, the bad ones turn out to be the good ones, the weak ones turn out to be the strong ones and so one. I think you get what I mean. The movie has no big surprises after all.

But if this kind of movie is well done, it can still merit a rating of eight points. I only give six point five and for this site seven points because of the mediocre camera work that was shaking and irritating at some points of the movie.

The rest of the film is quite decent. The locations are interesting and the movie takes place in Cape Town in South Africa and not in Europe or North America. The fighting and action scenes are very well done and with the visual and sound effects in cinema, it's a pleasant entertainment to watch this movie for sure. It's a good flick to change your mind, to relax and to take a break from your everyday life for sure. The acting is also rather good with two strong lead actors that are a very cool Denzel Washington and a sympathetic and determined Ryan Reynolds.

The only little flaw is that I would have liked to know more about both characters, especially about their past and what really led them to do what they actually do in the movie.

The movie simply has not the greatest script to stand out among many other similar flicks but it's still a good film. I would suggest you to rather watch the movies I talked about in my introduction or classics like "I As In Icarus" but if you have seen and liked them all, you will surely appreciate this work, too.

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100 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Danzel Saves What Really Is A Mess

Author: Harmon from United States
10 February 2012

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.

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61 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Reynolds & Washington a Strong Duo

7/10
Author: Richard Reilly (FFman@comcast.net) from Colorado
11 February 2012

It is so very difficult to find new material when you piece together a governmental conspiracy movie. Safe House is able to do it to a point. The greatest success of this movie is the usage of modern film techniques. Too often the bulging budget and ability to edit in effects makes action/thriller movies extremely unrealistic. Safe House does the opposite. It takes all of these techniques and uses them to make the movie raw and real.

The actors were hand-picked perfectly for their roles. Ryan Reynolds is the actor you have to use when you want to put a likable, relatable family man in a difficult situation. As a CIA operative caught up in something far outside his experience, he fits in perfectly. As for Denzel Washington, there is little that he can't do. For the unique character of Tobin Frost, there is no better man to fill the role. Together they form a storyline that merely needs to be able to stand on its own two feet. The storyline does stand on its own. That being said, it is the weakest part of the movie. The twists have all been seen before. This movie doesn't offer new plot points to the old conspiracy theory movie. It merely adds new characters. The new characters are great, but it is not enough. In order for the movie to be great, it needed to give something new to the story.

I must say that the end was beautiful. Without giving anything away, it was gracefully preformed. It wrapped up the loose ends that too many other movies simply leave hanging. It adds a whole other dimension to Ryan Reynolds' character. It will, without a doubt, leave you wanting more but somehow completely satisfied.

Safe House is worth a trip to the theatre. With thrillers such as this one, the action is better on the big screen. Between the action and the actors, you will not be disappointed. Next to Liam Neeson's The Grey, this is one of the best action movies so far this year. The thing is, it could have been even better. Too bad.

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64 out of 95 people found the following review useful:

"Safe House" is a exhilarating action thriller with explosive stunts and sequences.

9/10
Author: deanccastano from United States
7 February 2012

One of the CIA's most wanted, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), is back on the run after a ten-year disappearance. This alerts the CIA and sends their team to a gripping chase in Cape Town, South Africa. At a remote location, the CIA's safe house is guarded by a rookie operative, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). The house have been empty for years, involving no guests or action. At the arrival of Frost and the intelligence, a brutal investigation occurs. Phased by the presence of a notorious criminal, Weston becomes nervous and confused. In the midst of questioning, mercenaries invade the house and begins a killing spree in an effort to kidnap Frost as well. Frost reminds Weston, that as a house guest, he is to be protected. This sends Weston to a dizzying panic and eventually escapes along with Frost.

"Safe House" is a exhilarating action thriller with explosive stunts and sequences. The team behind the film stages multiple exciting scenes that involve beat down rooftops in the rural areas as well as heart-stopping car chases along the streets. Frost is an intelligent man. Being a former intelligence, who's gone rogue, he knows the rules and procedures. Most of the time, he's fascinated by watching Weston carry out his duties. Weston is continuously conflicted, looking for ways to hide Frost. Yet, Frost never makes it easy for him, as he tries to escape as well. Weston communicates with one of his supervisors, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), to determine their next move. But, the gunmen are determined to kill Frost, forcing Weston to take matters into his own hands.

Denzel Washington is an actor full of intensity. He can sit there and watch Reynolds do his thing and still convey the deepest of his character's emotions. He gives Frost both a terrifying presence and a sympathetic feel. Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, manages to stand along Washington and give the same intensity. His wits and charisma works perfectly for his distressed rookie persona. The film succeeds best because of this tandem, allowing the actors to build a good enough relationship to carry out the entire film.

"Safe House" is a great action thriller with non-stop action. This is the first mainstream feature for Daniel Espinosa and he comes forth as promising due to his skillful camera work with the action scenes. One of the most impressive is the rooftop chase at night. The editing is pitch perfect as it allows the audience to feel the danger of the situation from each point of view. This film could have been bleak and predictable if the leads were miscast but Washington and Reynolds' enigma make the film satisfyingly fun and fresh.

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38 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Predictable but Entertaining, Excellent Performances

7/10
Author: bdgill12 from United States
22 February 2012

I'm of the opinion that out of all the movie stars and would-be movie stars in Hollywood, Denzel Washington is one of, if not THE, safest bet. I say this because I don't think I've ever met a person who dislikes the man. In a culture that is built upon strong opinions and holding to said opinions fiercely (this is the backbone of the industry in many ways), it is a remarkable feat to put together a 20+ year career like Denzel has without drawing the ire of someone or some group. Age, race, and gender seem to matter not when it comes to Denzel, whose films almost always find a way to exceed expectations whether they are magnificent (Training Day, American Gangster) or wholly lackluster (John Q, Unstoppable). There is an overriding sense among a high percentage of moviegoers that if Denzel is in, so are they. Safe House, a solid if uninspired action thriller, has proved this theory to be true. Instead of the undercover investigations and shoot outs he expected when he joined the CIA, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) has been relegated to manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. He is bored and he wants some action, a desire that is all too well fulfilled at the outset of the film when former CIA agent-turned-traitor Tobin Frost (Washington) is brought to his house for interrogation. Soon after his arrival, a militant force arrives to take possession of Frost, killing the highly-trained team that brought Frost into the house. With no other option, Weston grabs Frost and makes a bolt for it, barely escaping the unknown villains who killed his comrades. With no other teams in the area, Weston's superior, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), tasks him with keeping Frost alive and in custody until he can be collected, a proposition which turns out to be much more difficult and complex than Weston would have ever imagined. With the assailants hot on their trail and Frost crawling deeper and deeper in Weston's head, the young agent must think fast and learn on the run before he becomes another casualty of a dirty battle that Frost has sucked him into. There are a few departures from the main storyline at work within Safe House but these distractions are only there to lengthen the film and add some uninteresting depth. This film lives and dies on the performances of Reynolds and Washington, both of whom come through beautifully. It's been a rough year for Reynolds whose star status has been thrown into serious question with the failures of Green Lantern and The Change-Up. This role, however, is a better fit for him, allowing him to share the load with an established genre veteran instead of being relied upon to carry a major film on his own. I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to give Weston more depth than what you usually get with this sort of film and I thought he hit the right balance between being a half- terrified, inexperienced field agent and being that hardened, "see this thing through to the bitter end" character that Safe House had to have. Washington, meanwhile, is a tour de force, exuding both charisma and menace in just the right amounts. Always a commanding presence on the screen no matter what his role, Washington is at his best when delivering his lines in that quiet, calm, measured manner which he has become famous for and this is a role that calls upon that ability several times. I can't say that this is one of Washington's best portrayals and it's certainly a safer choice than I'd like to see an actor of his caliber make, but it is nonetheless a reminder of exactly why just about everybody digs what this guy has been selling for two decades. Every other element of Safe House plays second fiddle to the work done by the two leads. The action is intense and somewhat gritty; when a shot is fired, you feel it as much as hear it, a characteristic I quite like in a serious action film. The plot itself is rife with generalities and clichs, making the film about as paint-by-numbers as they come. Personally, though, I didn't get caught up in these half-hearted missteps too often. Better choices could certainly be made; the major "twist" could be seen from a mile away and the conclusion was unsatisfactory for me. But given director Daniel Espinosa's relative inexperience behind the camera and the sheer power of Washington's star appeal, these are issues I found easy to overlook as the film progressed. It's nothing new and it's not a film I want to watch a dozen times over but for what it is, Safe House provides an entertaining and appealing experience.

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27 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Conventional but Effective Action-Thriller

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16 June 2012

In Cape Town, South Aftica, the rookie CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a safe house keeper and is in love with his French girlfriend Ana Moreau (Nora Arnezeder) that does not know about his double life.

When the most wanted rogue and former CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) surrenders to the American Consulate to escape from an attack of dangerous soldiers of fortune, he is brought to the safe house to be interrogated by the specialist Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick) and his team. However there is a breach in the safe house and mercenaries break in the place expecting to capture Tobin Frost and they kill Daniel and his men. Matt escapes with Tobin and he contacts the CIA senior management Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard), David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) and Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga) that give instruction to Matt to reach another safe house with the prisoner. But Tobin warns Matt that there is an informer in the CIA and he shall not trust in anyone.

"Safe House" is a conventional but effective action-thriller with the usual shootings, car chases and explosions. But the great cast, with the charismatic Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds; great veteran actors Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepard; the always excellent Vera Farmiga; and the gorgeous and unknown Nora Arnezeder, makes the difference. The Hollywoodian commercial happy end is unrealistic but certainly will pleasure a great number of viewers. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Protegendo o Inimigo" ("Protecting the Enemy")

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39 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Fulfills Its Popcorn Intentions But Little Else

7/10
Author: Simon_Says_Movies from Toronto, ON, Canada
12 February 2012

Safe House is a movie that fulfils its popcorn intentions, but metaphorically brings to mind the image of a bobble-head – a bloated brain supported by little else, springing uncontrollably in different directions. When the action ramps up, Safe House is at its best, providing ample energy, a plethora or gunplay and a number of gritty combat sequences. When pausing to forward the plot, spew exposition or focus on perfunctory romances, it grinds to a halt. Safe House would be better viewed with a remote equipped with a fast forward button nearby.

Thankfully for Safe House, the sequences with action outnumber those without, so it comes out on top on a percentage basis alone. What makes it slip just out of the realm of solid praise is that it really fails as a tense, psychological duel of wits. I mean c'mon you have the one of the coolest actors working today (Denzel Washington of course) trying to escape his confines with only a lowly safe house guard (Ryan Reynolds) in his way – use it! The trailers and radio ads prominently feature the line "I'm already in your head", but the movie itself offers little in the way of subtle manipulation or mind games. All we get are a few scenes where Washington's Tobin Frost intimidates the crap out of the inexperienced operative and forebodingly warns that the CIA will screw him one day.

Now that I've kicked this movie while it's down, let me tell you what it does very well: bloodshed. I already mentioned the ample high-octane set pieces, but of course volume of action does not always translate directly to a solid film ("Transformers" springs to mind) it has to bring something to the table. Safe House earns its R-rating in many an instance with sometimes uncomfortably realistic shootouts, brutal interrogations and wonderfully choreographed (but wince-inducing) hand- to-hand combat sequences. If you think that John McClane looks rough at the end of a "Die Hard" flick, wait until you see how Reynolds looks when the credits roll. Refreshingly, this is not the kind of movie where a character is shot, grits his teeth a little bit, holds his wound and then ten minutes later they have apparently forgotten about it. You feel every punch and when somebody gets stabbed they writhe on the floor in pain and when somebody gets shot they are likely not getting back up.

There are also a handful of lengthy chase sequences through the streets of Cape Town, a soccer stadium and the slums of Langa and in all instances deliver. They are easy to follow, high-energy and far more real-world than we're normally accustomed when talking about a Hollywood car chase. In all of these sequences (automotive or otherwise) we have Reynolds front and center. Safe House is really a Ryan Reynolds movie masquerading as a Denzel Washington film, though that is not to say Washington is relegated to a just supporting role, it is simply more focused on our in-way-over-his-head rookie than the lethal pro. Reynolds is the surprise here, not only holding his own against the veteran but delivering his best mainstream performance to date (there is not a hint of his wise-cracking The Green Lantern or Deadpool characters to be found here).

Curiously, there were very few one-liners delivered by Washington and though he oozed charisma through his presence alone, I would have liked to see a little more sizzle; one more duty that lands on the script, which just offers nothing in the way of interesting dialogue, insights into the mind of a killer or even a brisk pace for that matter. As a movie to pop in the DVD player with some buds, however (one that you can tune out the downtimes between action set pieces) it delivers absolutely and does offer one of the rarer instances for Washington to do his bad guy thing – a welcome sight.

Rating: 6.5/10

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25 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Too much of too little.

6/10
Author: Quietb-1 from United States
10 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From the trailers you know it's not such a safe house. Denzel Washington doesn't break a sweat. Ryan Reynolds never stops sweating. Vera Farminga is unconvincing as a high level CIA agent spouting exposition.

Plenty of redundant shoot outs, car chases and fights. Generic bad guys kill plenty of we didn't know them good guys. Up close, and in the actors face, digital photography is far too grainy.

Trendy CIA bashing. Quick pace. Plenty of action but not much new or interesting in this except perhaps the South Africa locations. Wait for the DVD.

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