Safe House

Safe House

When a CIA-operated safe house is targeted by a group of bad guys, the facility's house-sitter is tasked with the dangerous job of moving the criminal who is being hidden there to another secure location. 2.5 out of 5 based on 19 reviews
Safe House

Omniscore:

Certificate 15
Genre Action, Thriller
Director Daniel Espinosa
Cast Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard, Brendan Gleeson, Denzel Washington
Studio Universal Pictures UK
Release Date February 2012
Running Time 110 mins
 

When a CIA-operated safe house is targeted by a group of bad guys, the facility's house-sitter is tasked with the dangerous job of moving the criminal who is being hidden there to another secure location.

Reviews

The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

Although the writers try to pump up the story and give it some “Bourne”-like layering, the story ebbs into more familiar cynicism rather than building toward political complexity. Safe House is essentially and very effectively a rollicking smash-and-crash chase movie that happens to be surprisingly well acted. Mr. Washington, it almost goes without saying, is its anchor; when he’s on screen everything seems to matter more, so much so that a prequel seems inevitable.

09/02/2012

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Screen

John Hazelton

An efficiently twisty thriller that goes for the same internationally-flavoured blend of brutal action and dramatic intrigue as the Jason Bourne films. Though a Bourne-size box office take is unlikely, the star pairing could still earn this pacey spy yarn a relatively broad audience.

08/02/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

For its first two-thirds there’s a visceral intensity and seriousness of purpose to the action that makes it easier to forgive the film’s frustrating inability to build to any kind of true complexity or fully engage on a gut-punching level.

23/02/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

Plows through its familiar twists with efficient brio and a distinguished supporting cast. It’s a decent February movie that smartly extends Washington’s God-on-the-run character.

09/02/2012

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Time Out

Nigel Floyd

One long, exhausting chase scene, with occasional breaks for slightly stilted dialogue, taking in the Green Point football stadium, the labyrinthine Langa Township, shootouts, and mind-games.

21/02/2012

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Total Film

Neil Smith

If we never feel that there’s much at stake, that doesn’t prevent Safe House being a solid property built on firm foundations that’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

13/02/2012

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Empire Magazine

Kim Newman

This type of cynical, implausible action picture works best if it moves too fast to follow, but here pauses to develop character — as rookie Matt Weston learns life lessons from the veteran agent such as it’s difficult to be a spy and have a relationship — let the audience catch up and figure out way too early where it’s going.

20/02/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Kenneth Turan

Espinosa has given Safe House an unmistakably stylish and unsettling tone, characterized by probing camera work, quick and edgy cutting and a fine ability to keep audiences off-balance and wondering when they'll get a chance to catch their next breath.

10/02/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

As long as Washington and Reynolds are together, Safe House is an exciting battle of wills – Midnight Run meets Silence Of The Lambs – but for too much of the film, they're kept apart, and their interplay is replaced by confusing chases and shoot-outs.

26/02/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

There is scarcely anything in the film that touches on South Africa politically, culturally or geographically, and one can only suppose that the script was relocated there to take advantage of local tax breaks.

26/02/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

It’s hard to understand why, other than for money, a gifted actor such as Washington would want to make a film like this. We get the odd flash of his old magic — that smile and the dark, broody gravitas of the consummate killer — but his Frost is never the seductive sociopath he should be ... As for the ubiquitous Reynolds, he looks and acts like someone who belongs in Friends. He is so bland on screen, he makes Shia LaBeouf seem like the young Brando.

26/02/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Has the kind of grainy photography that is meant to represent urgent authenticity, but merely looks as though the whole film is sporting five days of stubble.

24/02/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

This isn’t so much a movie as a list of cliches.

24/02/2012

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Channel 4 Film

Terry Mulcahy

What initially parades itself as the set-up for something in the realm of claustrophobia-fest Panic Room actually turns into an all out action-extravaganza, as our heroes are hounded across the cities and plains of South Africa. With its deafeningly loud fire arms and un-pulled punches, the film may swagger with the weight of its cojones at the outset, but is left to stumble by its midpoint.

24/02/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

A generic slam-banger, seemingly engineered to be forgotten almost while you're watching it.

24/02/2012

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The Evening Standard

The Evening Standard

There's little to detain the brain as far as script or characterisation go.

24/02/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

With a magisterial disregard for plausibility, everyone survives gunfire and Armageddon, over and over. They should end up as walking, refugee colanders.

23/02/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

No dialogue scene can extend for more than about 30 seconds before director Daniel Espinosa insists on pepping things up with an almighty bang, a shower of glass and a fistfight. In fact, there are so many muscly, gun-toting guys having bloody brawls, it looks like some online research has been carried out to see what niche audience might appreciate this film most.

23/02/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

In the ensuing chase, both heroes crash through a lot of windows while waving their guns in the air, until Washington’s character finally decides to reveal the reason he absconded from the CIA in the first place. Naturally this changes everything, which makes you wonder why he didn’t just come out with it earlier, thereby preventing many pointless deaths and reducing Cape Town’s collective double-glazing bill.

23/02/2012

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