331 user 200 critic

Safe House (2012)

2:34 | Trailer
A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.


Daniel Espinosa
1,024 ( 28)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
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
Jenna Dover Jenna Dover ... CIA Analyst
Stephen Rider ... CIA Analyst
Daniel Fox ... CIA Analyst
Tracie Thoms ... CIA Analyst


Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA rookie who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) 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. Written by Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


No One Is Safe


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Daniel Espinosa and actors Fares Fares and Joel Kinnaman are all good friends from Sweden. See more »


Before Weston arrives at Green Point Stadium the stadium shows no activity. A few seconds later when he arrives there is suddenly a soccer match on and thousands of people around. See more »


[from trailer]
Tobin Frost: Time's a-wasting. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
See more »


References The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) See more »


Rebel Blues
Written by Lëk Sèn, Yves Abadi (as Y. Abadi), Adrien Biehler (as A. Biehler), Miguel Saboga (as M. Saboga)
Performed by Lëk Sèn
Courtesy of Louxor Station & Putumayo World Music
See more »

User Reviews

Great story, GREAT acting, bad camera
14 March 2020 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

"Safe House" is an action packed thriller about a lone rookie CIA agent attempting to 'escort' his high profile prisoner back to CIA headquarters. If this brings to mind the classic films "The Gauntlet" (Clint Eastwood), "Midnight Run" (Di Nero) or even "Silence of the Lambs" (Anthony Hopkins), then you know what I'm talking about when I say "great story". Similarly the acting is fantastic; you can't go wrong with Denzel Washington who has a way of raising the bar for all actors on a production. My one big problem, as a couple other reviewers mentioned, was the jarring, unnecessarily shaky camera and rapid fire edits that upstage the power of this film.

Ryan Reynolds plays the rookie "Matt" who's basically just a housekeeper at a CIA safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. One day they bring in "Frost" (Denzel Washington) who is basically James Bond with a bad attitude. One thing leads to another, bodies pile up, and Matt finds himself attempting to bring in Frost all by himself, despite a few armies of thugs & spies hot on their trail.

What makes this film work, much like in "Silence of the Lambs" is the dynamic between the fresh faced rookie and the wise Mr. Miagi prisoner. As events unfold, we see a pupil/teacher relationship develop even though the teacher is supposedly the bad guy. Ryan Reynolds, just like Jodie Foster in Lambs, pulls this off perfectly by seeming young & inexperienced without seeming stupid. On the teacher side we have the excellent Denzel Washington who, just like Anthony Hopkins, conveys a magnetic aura of authority and control, even though he's the one in handcuffs (or in Lambs, a restraining hockey mask). Of course "Safe House" is more of a fast paced action flick than the slow psychological "Silence of the Lambs", and that leads me to my criticism.

This is just a personal opinion, but I feel like the hyper chaotic camera work and ADD edits killed a great opportunity for a powerful presentation. Note to directors: when you have a colossus like Denzel Washington in front of the camera, just tell your camera man to chill. Tell the gang in the editing room to put down the scissors. Just let the talent speak for itself.

Instead--I'm not exaggerating here--I started counting at least 1 cut every 2 seconds. And even when the camera was given more time, it would be constantly shaking, zooming in & out, darting about the room like a paranoid crack addict looking for a Starbucks caffè latte. I realize that this was a conscious stylistic choice, and definitely this chaotic style works to elevate bad productions to passable. But when your underlying material is GOOD, then why distract the audience with camera theatrics?

Ok I'm done with my opinion. Back to the facts. This is a good movie. It has a great story. These are great actors. Regardless of how you prefer your cameras & edits, it's worth checking out.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Frequently Asked Questions

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South Africa | USA | Japan


English | Afrikaans

Release Date:

10 February 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Safe House See more »


Box Office


$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,172,720, 12 February 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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