Safe House (2012 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Espinosa|
|Produced by||Scott Stuber|
|Written by||David Guggenheim|
|Music by||Ramin Djawadi|
|Edited by||Richard Pearson|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$208.1 million|
Safe House is a 2012 South African-American 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. 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.
In Cape Town, South Africa, ex-CIA NOC operative turned international criminal Tobin Frost acquires a data storage device from rogue MI6 agent Alec Wade. A team of mercenaries attacks them and kills Wade. Frost flees and, out of options, surrenders to the American consulate.
Frost is transferred to a local CIA safe house maintained by "housekeeper" Matt Weston, a young agent. A team led by veteran Daniel Kiefer are sent to interrogate Frost and bring him back to the US. Weston watches uneasily as Kiefer's team waterboards Frost. The mercenaries, led by Vargas, attack the safe house and kill Kiefer and his team. Weston escapes with Frost.
Weston contacts his superior, David Barlow, at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, along with Catherine Linklater, the operative in charge of Frost's interrogation and Kiefer's superior, and CIA Deputy Director Harlan Whitford, who is overseeing the operation. Linklater orders Weston to lay low and await further instructions.
Frost begins to manipulate Weston, insisting that someone within the CIA gave away their location to the mercenaries and that Weston will be forced to take the fall if things go wrong. Barlow tells Weston to go to Cape Town Stadium where he retrieves a GPS device containing the location of another safe house, but Frost creates a diversion and escapes. Weston, detained by the police, escapes and is forced to fire at them.
Weston contacts Langley to report Frost's escape. After hearing that Weston fired at the police, Linklater orders him to visit the nearest American embassy for debriefing. When Whitford tells him "we'll take it from here", Weston decides to pursue Frost himself. Linklater and Barlow go to South Africa themselves. En route, Linklater suggests that Weston has joined Frost, which Barlow refutes.
Weston tracks Frost to a shantytown in Langa. Vargas' team attack again, killing Frost's contact, but Weston helps him escape. 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 from Frost. As they bandage their wounds, Frost tells the story of how he was forced to kill an air traffic controller while on a mission. He later learned that he was simply part of a plot to assassinate a whistle-blower who would expose wetwork committed by the CIA.
Weston takes Frost to the new safe house, where Weston keeps the housekeeper, Keller at gunpoint. Keller attacks and severely wounds Weston before he is killed. Frost reveals the device contains evidence of corruption and bribery involving the CIA, MI6, and other intelligence agencies. Frost leaves Weston, who passes out from blood loss.
Meanwhile, Linklater arrives in South Africa and informs Barlow of the device's existence, but not its contents. Barlow then kills her and travels to the safe house where he 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' team but is fatally shot by Barlow. Weston then shoots and kills Barlow. Frost gives Weston the file and tells Weston he is better than him before dying.
Back in the United States, Weston meets with Director Whitford, 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 knowing about it. Whitford states that whoever has those files will have many enemies. Weston assures Whitford that he will "take it from here", visibly shaking Whitford, and leaves. He leaks the files to the media, incriminating personnel from many intelligence agencies, including Whitford.
- Denzel Washington as Tobin Frost
- Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston
- Vera Farmiga as Catherine Linklater
- Brendan Gleeson as David Barlow
- Sam Shepard as Harlan Whitford
- Rubén Blades as Carlos Villar
- Nora Arnezeder as Ana Moreau
- Robert Patrick as Daniel Kiefer
- Liam Cunningham as Alec Wade
- Joel Kinnaman as Keller
- Fares Fares as Vargas
|Safe House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||February 21, 2012|
|Label||Varèse Sarabande 067137|
|Ramin Djawadi chronology|
All music by Ramin Djawadi.
|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|
|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|
|13.||"Be Better Than Me"||4:11|
|15.||"More Past Than Future"||3:19|
|18.||"I'll Take It From Here"||5:46|
Songs used in the film but not included in the soundtrack album were:
- "Rebel Blues" performed by Lëk Sèn
- "No Church in the Wild" performed by Kanye West & Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean
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' fourth-biggest opener, behind Deadpool (film) ($132.4 million),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.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 53% 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." On Metacritic the film holds an average weighted score of 52 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
In September 2012, it was announced that Universal had hired screenwriter David Guggenheim to write a script for a possible sequel.
- "Safe House". European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
- "Movie Projector: 'The Vow' to sweep audiences off their feet". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- "Safe House". Box Office Mojo. May 15, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- Kit, Borys (October 29, 2010). "Universal Announces Release Dates for 'The Bourne Legacy,' 'Safe House'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
- "Safe House by Ramin Djawadi". Retrieved November 3, 2016.
- 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.
- "Safe House". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- "Safe House Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- "Safe House". CinemaScore. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Kit, Borys (September 5, 2012). "'Safe House 2' in the Works at Universal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.