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Safe House Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Quick, somebody beat up Ryan Reynolds... Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Nobody puts Denzel in a corner. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    Safe House is a sturdy enough thriller, but one that consistently defaults to the less interesting of its two lead characters.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Terse and understated, this is a spy vs. spy tale designed to minimize talk and maximize action, not at all a bad thing in movies but over-worked to near-exhaustion here.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Safe House has two powerful performances at its core, a hectic plot, a huge body count and a mild sense of déjà vu amid the pulse-quickening tension.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Compared with a superior potboiler like "Salt," which messed with your brain in entertainingly far-fetched ways, Safe House is action-movie porridge gussied up into a less-clever-than-it-seems mystery.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Interesting characters clash in extremely violent thriller.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Safe House is an extremely violent action thriller about how a young, optimistic CIA agent deals with a seasoned, cynical renegade. Expect lots of guns, killing, and blood, as well as car crashes, explosions, fights, and even torture (water boarding). There's a minor scene of sexuality, but no graphic nudity. Language and drinking are both infrequent (though the former does include both "f--k" and "s--t"), and consumerism is limited to one character's use of an Apple iPhone. Teens may want to see this if they're fans of stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, but it's not age appropriate for younger viewers.

  • Families can talk about Safe House's violence. Was it necessary to get the movie's point across? Which scenes were thrilling, and which were disturbing? How does the impact of what you saw here compare to the kind of violence in a comic book action movie?
  • Tobin believes that no one is to be trusted and that everyone will eventually betray you. Matt has a lot more hope for goodness to prevail. Is there a happy medium between these two attitudes? 
  • Do you think organizations like the CIA are susceptible to corruption in real life? Why might some aspects of working there be exaggerated in the media?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie's main theme is a clash between experience/cynicism and youthful optimism. The conclusion is that both ideals can exist at the same time and that it can be detrimental to focus on just one or the other.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Matt Weston is a youthful optimist who's hankering for some action and a chance to prove himself. He's a bit reckless, and he eventually has no qualms about killing people in self defense, but he also risks everything in order to do what he thinks is right. His perseverance rubs off on a few other characters.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: This movie is a non-stop chase, with lots of shooting, deaths, and blood. There are explosions, car chases, car crashes, knife fights, strangling, and fist fights. Characters are stabbed with shards of glass. There's an intense scene of water torture (a wet towel is placed over the victim's face, and water is poured on top to simulate the feel of drowning).

  • sex false3

    Sex: The main character's girlfriend follows him into the bathroom, removes her clothes, and climbs into the shower with him. Viewers see kissing, but no graphic nudity.

  • language false3

    Language: Surprisingly infrequent for this kind of movie; "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "ass" are each used a couple of times.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The character talks on an Apple iPhone every so often. The Apple logo is visible at least once.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Denzel Washington's character enjoys fine wine. Viewers see him drinking it twice, more to savor the flavor than to get drunk.