Contraband (2012) – Movie Review
Contraband (2012) is a well written and well acted action drama set in the dangerous world of international smuggling. The premise of the film has Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) and his best fried, Sebastian, expertly played by Ben Foster (Mechanic (2011);Pandorum (2009); 30 Days of Night (2007)) as legendary goods smugglers who have retired for a settled life.
Now that Farraday has a wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and two small children he is happy to be out of a life of crime which put his father in gaol. A spanner falls in the works when his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) dumps a large amount of cocaine into the ocean while doing a job for some less than law-abiding individuals. They threaten his life and the life of his family which brings Wahlberg out of retirement and headed to Panama return with millions in counterfeit cash to square the debt and save his brother.
Mark Wahlberg does a good job at Farraday. I must admit I find Wahlberg to be generally hit and miss. I really liked him in the Other Guys (2010) and in his small part in Date Night (2010), but beyond this I think his performances are at best weak. Contraband, however can be added to the plus column. This is not a film where he relies upon taking his shirt off or outlandish action sequences, I genuinely believed his performance, his love for his family and his internal struggles in the film.
Giovanni Ribisi plays the gangster, Tim Briggs, a small time criminal working above his station and is merely a pawn in a much bigger game. I am a big fan of Ribisi and in this he does not disappoint. He has this knack for looking like he is over acting every role he plays, yet seems to pull it off without ruining it or looking like he has hammed it up.
Overall, Contraband is a well-structured story, penned by here-to-for unknown writer, Aaron Guzikowski, and directed in a very tight fashion by Baltasar Kormákur, a relative newcomer to big screen block-busters. There is enough excitement in the film to keep action junkies happy. It’s a world of plot twists, some obvious, some not so but all enjoyable, and the interplay of the characters makes for an intriguing story where I felt for the victims and disliked the criminals. Contraband ticks all the boxes for a very enjoyable flick.
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