Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and Giovanni Ribisi
Contraband is an action packed heist movie surrounding Chris Farraday's (Wahlberg) mission to save his family from a drug lord after a job gone wrong. Faced with an obscene amount of owed money, Chris turns to smuggling counterfeit bills in from Panama. Cue copious amounts of shooting, driving, fighting and men being macho!
This films main strength lies in the solid cast. These actors are cool. Caleb Laundrey Jones plays the young and unreliable Andy, while Ben Foster plays best friend Sebastian. Add to this Lukas Haas, Kate Beckinsale and David O'Hara, you're looking at some highly competent and believable acting. Wahlberg is once again surprisingly impressive and seems to be a chameleon like actor who looks relaxed and fits in any given situation making the audience feel at ease watching him in any role.
First time director Baltasar Kormákur shows great promise and we're expecting Contraband will be the first of many Hollywood smashes. Interestingly enough, our director played the lead role the 2008 film Reykjavik-Rotterdam on which Contraband is adapted from.
The main issue with Contraband is that it's not very original and doesn't break the mould of a genre that has been done many times. As well as this, the third act seems slighty drawn out. It has major echoes of the Ben Affleck's film The Town. And as far as heist movies go - The Town is better because it feels more sincere and all together more grown-up. That said, Contraband definitely has the edge in terms of the visuals. Firefights in Panama and a decent soundtrack look vibrant and sound amazing.
Contraband is definitely worth a watch, despite being a bit padded out, cookie cutter and generic - it's beautifully shot, immensely cool and very well cast. You're guaranteed a thrilling ride.
One to watch: Caleb Laundry Jones. After seeing this young actor first in No Country For Old Men and then X Men First Class it seems he has a bright future ahead of him. Look out for Caleb's upcoming film Byzantium later this year!
Have a look at the trailer for Contraband:
And if you've already seen and loved Contraband, be sure to watch The Town: