Newest Review: ... and ends up owing the wrong guys when he is forced to drop some smuggled drugs into the Mississippi river when US Customs make a surprise ... more
What would you hide to protect your family?
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Advantages: Good cast, clever in parts, fast paced
Being a bit of a fan of Mark Wahlberg, I usually actively try and see his films on release rather than waiting till the opportunity finds me so when Contraband was released I thought it was right up my street. My favourite genre of films are thriller / suspense films so I knew I'd love this.
Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, a nice guy who works hard running his own business installing security alarms in New Orleans. He seems to have it all, the nice house, the pretty wife Kate (played by Kate Beckinsale) and two young sons. It isn't immediately apparent but you do find out pretty quickly that Farraday is actually an ex smuggler who was a master of his craft. Things plod along nicely until Kate's younger brother Andy gets himself caught up in Farradays old business and ends up owing the wrong guys when he is forced to drop some smuggled drugs into the Mississippi river when US Customs make a surprise visit. Unfortunately for Farraday, Andy is only young (around 19 / 20) and is unable to get himself out of the situation so the bad guys come knocking on Farraday's door bringing the problem to him and his family if he doesn't sort it. It rang a little here of Gone in 60 Seconds: the protagonist seeking the cliché of 'one last hit' to make all their troubles go away.
The bad guys demand Farraday repays $700,000 to settle the score and the only way Farraday knows how to raise that kind of money is to return to smuggling for one last big hit. Forced onto a cargo ship, Farraday heads to Panama in order to find something valuable worth smuggling. I quite liked that the Directors had chosen to use Panama and New Orleans, which I thought were original and seemed to work well throughout the film.
The film is extremely clever. I normally guess the outcome of most films, how they're going to do it, etc but Contraband left me guessing to the very end. There is lots of cat and chase moments so it's full of suspense as Farraday was a well-known smuggler, the best in the business, so as soon as his name comes on the ships manifest he is on the Captains radar. He also has a run in with a psychotic drug dealer along the way which totally hits his plans for six so it really is quite fast paced and full of suspense, and a side story of his run in has a clever little twist in the end.
The acting is excellent, Wahlberg always impresses me, even though I sometimes can't help but see him gyrating around topless singing away! He's certainly not at the top of his game though in this, but I don't think he'll ever beat his part in Fighter. Kate Beckinsale is also brilliant in this. It took me about half an hour to even recognise it was her as she has blonde hair in Contraband and looks very washed out. Giovanni Ribisi plays the bad guy and he is actually pretty scary in this! He played Phoebes weird brother in Friends - Frank. There are also a few others that you may recognise if you watch a lot of films but these three stood out for me.
The film does have a few surprises along the way, such as who is the true bad guy and the ending is pretty fast paced. I squeaked and squealed a few times as its one of those... will he make it kind of scenes. It isn't particularly original, it has all been done before but to be honest 90% of films out there are just the same so I would recommend this film, it's a good watch with a good cast.
Summary: 4 stars