Safe House (2012 film)

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Safe House
Safe House Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Produced by Scott Stuber
Written by David Guggenheim
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by Richard Pearson
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • February 10, 2012 (2012-02-10)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million[1]
Box office $208.1 million[2]

Safe House is a 2012 American spy action-thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows Matt Weston (Reynolds), a CIA agent on his first low-level posting in Cape Town who is in charge of a safe house where the CIA is interrogating Tobin Frost (Washington), a veteran operative who has allegedly betrayed the agency. When the safe house is attacked by mercenaries who kill almost all the agents, Weston flees with Frost in his charge, and they end up on the run. As the team of killers, who seem to be one step ahead of the pair, track them throughout Cape Town, Weston begins to wonder who to trust.

The film was released on February 10, 2012, in North America by Universal Pictures.[3] Filming took place in Cape Town, South Africa. The film premiered in New York City on February 7, 2012, and was released in U.S. theaters on February 10, 2012. While Washington and Reynolds' performances were praised, the film received mixed reviews. The film earned $208 million worldwide against its $85 million budget.[2]


In Cape Town, South Africa, ex-CIA NOC operative turned international criminal Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) acquires a data storage device from rogue MI6 agent Alec Wade (Liam Cunningham). After the pair is attacked by a team of mercenaries led by Vargas (Fares Fares), Wade is killed and Frost is cornered by the gunmen, leaving him no choice but to surrender to the American consulate.

Frost is transferred to a local safe house maintained by "housekeeper" Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a young agent on his first low-level CIA posting and then the CIA sends in a team led by veteran agent Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick) to interrogate Frost and bring him back to the US. Weston watches uneasily as Kiefer and his men waterboard Frost. When the power to the safe house is cut, the CIA team realize that they are in grave danger. Vargas and a heavily armed group attack the safe house, killing Kiefer and his team. Weston escapes, taking Frost as his charge. When Weston makes contact with his superior, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga), another CIA operative, orders Weston to lie low and await further instructions.

Weston hides out with Frost and calls his girlfriend Ana Moreau (Nora Arnezeder), a French medical resident who does not know that he works for the CIA, and tells her to leave the house. Barlow later tells Weston to go to Cape Town Stadium to retrieve a GPS device with the location of another nearby safe house. He retrieves the GPS at the stadium, but Frost creates a diversion and gets away by disguising himself as a policeman. Weston, detained by the police, escapes but is unable to catch Frost. Weston goes to recapture Frost but Frost ambushes him and aims a gun at him as if to shoot him, but then tells him "I only kill professionals".

Weston is ordered to visit the nearest American embassy for debriefing. Instead he meets with Ana and reveals that he is a CIA agent. He tells her to return to Paris for her safety. Weston tracks Frost to a shantytown in Langa, where Frost is meeting Nicaraguan national Carlos Villar (Rubén Blades), an old contact and document forger. Vargas and his team attack again, killing Villar along with his wife, but Frost eludes him and his men with Weston's help. Weston brutally interrogates one of Vargas' wounded mercenaries, who reveals that Vargas is working for the CIA, which is seeking to retrieve the storage device Frost received from Wade. The device contains Israeli intelligence which contain details of corrupt officials and secret money transfers involving American CIA, British MI6, and other intelligence agencies; Weston recognizes the reference to the Mossad because the CIA accused Frost of selling secrets to them before he became a rogue agent. Weston's own superiors may be implicated. Weston takes Frost to the new safe house, where Weston keeps the housekeeper, Keller (Joel Kinnaman) at gunpoint, because he no longer knows if he can trust the CIA.

Keller attacks Weston, and after a brutal struggle, Weston breaks Keller's neck, but he is badly wounded in the fight. Frost leaves Weston, who passes out from his wounds. Meanwhile, Linklater arrives in South Africa with Barlow to collect Frost and Weston from the safe house, but on the way is shot and killed by Barlow, who goes to the safe house and reveals that he is Vargas' employer. He confirms that the file contains incriminating evidence against him, and encourages Weston to lie about what has happened. Frost returns and kills Vargas and his men but is shot by Barlow. Weston then shoots Barlow in the chest, killing him. Frost gives Weston the file and tells Weston he is better than him before he dies from his injuries.

Back in the United States, Weston meets with CIA Deputy Director Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard), who informs Weston that unflattering facts about the CIA must be removed from his report, but that he will be promoted. He asks Weston about the file's location but Weston denies having been told about it by Frost. Whitford states that whoever has those files will have many enemies. Weston leaves, then leaks the files to the media, incriminating personnel from many intelligence agencies, including Whitford. Later on, Weston sees Ana across a street in Paris, France. She reads a note passed to her from him, looks up at Weston, and they both make eye contact and she smiles before Weston walks away.



Safe House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Safe House.jpg
Soundtrack album by Ramin Djawadi
Released February 21, 2012 (2012-02-21)
Genre Film score
Length 68:51
Label Varèse Sarabande 067137
Producer Ramin Djawadi
Ramin Djawadi chronology
Fright Night
Safe House
Game of Thrones: Season 2

Ramin Djawadi composed the score to the film.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All music by Ramin Djawadi.[4]

No. Title Length
1. "Safe House" 3:15
2. "A Hundred Lies A Day" 3:15
3. "Get In The Trunk" 4:24
4. "Do I Make You Nervous?" 3:07
5. "I Used To Be Innocent Like You" 2:11
6. "Tobin Frost" 2:19
7. "Off The Grid" 3:27
8. "Do What You Have To Do" 4:48
9. "Don't Kill Innocent People" 3:45
10. "Who Do You Work For?" 3:44
11. "Walk Away" 6:03
12. "People Change" 2:16
13. "Be Better Than Me" 4:11
14. "Langa" 6:14
15. "More Past Than Future" 3:19
16. "12 Months" 3:05
17. "Truth" 3:42
18. "I'll Take It From Here" 5:46
Total length: 68:51

Songs used in the film but not included in the soundtrack album were:


The film premiered in New York City on February 7, 2012, and was released in U.S. theaters on February 10, 2012. Safe House was released to Blu-ray and DVD on June 5, 2012 in the United States.[5]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $126,373,434 in North America and $81,702,771 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $208,076,205.

Safe House earned $13.6 million on opening day, and $40.1 million over the weekend including $10.5 million overseas, ranking in second place to The Vow. The film was Denzel Washington's second-biggest opener, behind American Gangster ($43,565,115) and Ryan Reynolds' third-biggest opener, behind X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85,058,003) and Green Lantern ($53,174,303). In its second weekend, it became #1 at the box office with $23,641,575, beating The Vow. It was the second film in 2012 to cross the $100 million mark domestically behind The Vow and the fourth film to cross the $100 million mark worldwide behind Underworld: Awakening, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and The Vow.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator Metacritic gives the film a score of 52 out of 100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] It holds a 53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 177 reviews; the average rating is 5.7/10. The site's consensus reads, "Safe House stars Washington and Reynolds are let down by a thin script and choppily edited action sequences."[7]

Possible sequel[edit]

In September 2012, it was announced that Universal had hired screenwriter David Guggenheim to write a script for a possible sequel.[8]


  1. ^ "Movie Projector: 'The Vow' to sweep audiences off their feet". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Safe House". Box Office Mojo. May 15, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ Kit, Borys (October 29, 2010). "Universal Announces Release Dates for 'The Bourne Legacy,' 'Safe House'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Safe House by Ramin Djawadi". Retrieved November 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ Ball, Chris (June 3, 2012). "Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds star in spy thriller 'Safe House,' new on DVD and Blu-ray". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Safe House Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Safe House". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (September 5, 2012). "'Safe House 2' in the Works at Universal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 

External links[edit]