Contraband (2012 film)
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|Directed by||Baltasar Kormákur|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan
|Screenplay by||Aaron Guzikowski|
|Based on||Reykjavík-Rotterdam written by
|Music by||Clinton Shorter|
|Editing by||Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir|
Working Title Films
Closest to the Hole Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||110 minutes|
|Budget||$25 million |
Contraband is an American action crime thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormákur, starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. The film is a remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam that starred Kormákur. Contraband was released on January 13, 2012, in the United States, by Universal Pictures.
Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is an ex-smuggler who now has a peaceful life with his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and their two sons in New Orleans. They learn that Kate's brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) was smuggling drugs, but dropped them into the Mississippi River during a surprise inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.).
Andy's boss, ruthless mobster Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), threatens to kill Chris' family if Andy doesn't pay $700,000. Chris decides to raise the money by running contraband, working with his best friend and former smuggling partner, Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster), who has also gone legitimate and now owns a construction company. He promises Kate that he will not run drugs, joining the crew of a cargo ship in order to buy $10,000,000 in fake bills in Panama and smuggle them into the U.S. He is joined by Andy, good friend Danny Raymer (Lukas Haas), and gets help from fellow crew mates. Briggs breaks into Chris' house to scare his wife and kids, so they move into Sebastian's house for safety.
In Panama, Chris discovers that the bills were not printed on starch-free paper (meaning they could easily be found as fakes) and refuses to accept them. The only one who can provide good quality bills is crime lord Gonzalo (Diego Luna). When Briggs calls Andy and threatens to kill one of Chris' sons, Andy takes Chris' money and uses it to buy the cocaine Andy wants. With the money gone, Gonzalo lets Chris and Danny help in a dangerous armored car heist as payment for the fake bills. They are successful in stealing a painting – what appears to be a Jackson Pollock – in the heist, but Gonzalo and his men are killed, along with numerous police and security officers.
Chris and Danny make it back to the ship yard in a van containing the fake bills and the paint splattered tarp. They load the contraband-laden van into a container which is loaded onto their cargo ship. Chris assaults Andy for stealing the money and buying cocaine.
It is revealed that Sebastian has been working with Briggs, as gangster Jim Church (David O'Hara) threatens to kill Sebastian if he doesn't repay money he borrowed to save his fledgling construction business. When Sebastian calls Chris, Chris tells him that he might drop the drugs Andy bought into the ocean—angry that Andy had done the cocaine side deal. Sebastian tells Briggs, who assaults Kate and warns her to tell Chris to not dump the "package".
Kate calls Chris and tells him what Briggs said to her. Chris is surprised that Briggs knew about dumping the drugs, realizing that Sebastian had to have told him. Kate does not know and goes back to Sebastian's apartment to retrieve some personal items. When Sebastian tries to force himself on her, he accidentally bashes her head against a bathtub. Sebastian thinks she is dead and throws her (unconscious) body in a yet to be poured foundation.
Sebastian contacts the cargo ship's Captain Camp (J K Simmons), tells him that Chris is smuggling on his ship, and promises him a share if he makes sure Chris doesn't throw it overboard. When Chris does not give up the contraband, Camp calls the C.B.P. to meet the ship in New Orleans. The C.B.P. agents find the container with Chris' van, but the van is empty save for the Pollock.
Once Chris is on shore, Briggs and his thugs demand the drug package. Chris takes Briggs to Camp's house, having made a duplicate key while on the ship, and knowingly activates the security system. Chris opens Camp's personal carpet cleaner, which Camp had aboard the ship, and retrieves the cocaine from the carpet cleaner's water tank. While Briggs and his gang sit in Camp's living room with the cocaine, Chris sneaks out in Camp's car. Camp awakens to the noise and comes into the living room as the police arrive. Both Briggs and Camp are arrested, in possession of the cocaine.
Chris goes to Sebastian's construction site and brutally beats him, demanding Kate's location. When Sebastian tells Chris that she's dead, he tries calling her cellphone and hears the ringtone in a building foundation where cement is being poured and rescues her. Sebastian is arrested and sent to prison, where he has to answer to Chris's prisoner father.
Danny retrieves the fake bills, which we learn Chris had dumped into the Mississippi River before docking in New Orleans. Needing a vehicle to transport the bills, Andy buys the escape van, which the C.B.P. had confiscated from the cargo ship, at a C.B.P. auction. Church pays Chris $3 million for the fake currency and asks if he knows anything about a Jackson Pollock painting stolen from an armored car in Panama, telling him that it's worth $140 million and can be fenced for over $20 million on the black market. Chris, Andy and Danny find the painting – the nondescript paint splattered tarp – still in the van.
Following Chris and Andy's involvement in multiple killings, drug smuggling, trading in counterfeit currency, framing the ship's captain for a crime he did not commit, and selling a stolen art masterpiece, the film ends with Chris, Kate, Andy and the kids living a comfortable life in a waterfront house.
- Mark Wahlberg as Chris Farraday
- Kate Beckinsale as Kate Farraday
- Ben Foster as Sebastian Abney
- Caleb Landry Jones as Andy
- Giovanni Ribisi as Tim Briggs
- Lukas Haas as Danny Raymer
- J. K. Simmons as Captain Redmond Camp
- Diego Luna as Gonzalo
- Robert Wahlberg as John Bryce
- Jaqueline Fleming as Jeanie Goldare
- William Lucking as Bud Farraday
- David O'Hara as Jim Church
DVD release 
Critical reception 
Contraband opened from mixed reviews. Based on 152 reviews, the film currently holds a 51% rotten status from Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus saying, "It's more entertaining than your average January action thriller, but that isn't enough to excuse Contraband's lack of originality and unnecessarily convoluted plot."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that "Contraband involves a lot of energy," but he was growing "tired of violent retreads of these heist elements." Tom Long of The Detroit News criticized the film for having "too much plot and too little character" and concluded that it "comes off the factory floor with its engine running and ready to drive. But the ride feels overly familiar." Claudia Puig of USA Today called "the 'one last job' trope [...] a particularly tired one" and remarked that while it "has a few moments of tension," the film "adheres to a predictable heist formula hardly worth trafficking in." Andrew O'Hehir of Salon characterized the film as "exactly the sort of movie that Hollywood specializes in, the kind which seems on paper as if it ought to be entertaining, but winds up a massive and chaotic drag" and observed that "it's much more like a cynical hash job, whose faux-realistic manner can't hide all the hackneyed crime-movie situations."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone thought the film "goes down in a sea of Hollywood clichés" and that Mark "Wahlberg could sleepwalk through this role, and does. See this movie and you'll surely follow his lead." Kyle Smith of the New York Post derided the film, noting that "watching a hero progress due in large part to lucky breaks and idiot moves by others does not make a movie" and that "it's puzzling why anyone considered this script worth shooting." Scott Tobias of NPR dismissed the film as a "mediocre [...] thriller," something "to be remembered, vaguely." Rafer Guzman of Newsday expressed disappointment that "a little action is all you'll get" and opined that the film "fails by overreaching: It aspires to the heightened drama of The Departed but lands instead in the bargain bin of forgettable action product."
Justin Chang of Variety praised the film as "reasonably swift and effective" and for taking "a hard-driving line of action and a commitment to one-damned-thing-after-another storytelling that carries it past any number of narrative speed bumps and preposterous detours." Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post compared the film to "an Ocean's Eleven movie, minus the glamour," saying that it was "taut and suspenseful for the most part." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated that the film, "while often grungy and far-fetched, does keep you watching. And in January, that's recommendation enough."
The price quoted for the painting stolen by Gonzalo's gang may be a reference to Jackson Pollock's No. 5, 1948. In November 2006, it became the world's most expensive painting, when it was sold privately to an undisclosed buyer for the sum of $140,000,000. However, the painting featured in the movie does not resemble "No. 5, 1948" and is on canvas rather than fiberboard.
- "Weekend Box Office: Audiences Smuggle Contraband Into The Number One Spot Over 'Beauty & The Beast 3D". indieWire. January 15, 2012. "this is a solid win for Universal, who spent $40 million on the Mark Wahlberg project, gambling that the film would open uncharacteristically big for an R-rated January offering."
- "Contraband (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- "Extras needed for ‘Contraband’ in New Orleans". On Location Vacations. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- "Contraband - CompleteSeasonDVDs.com". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Contraband". Flixster. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (January 11, 2012). "Contraband". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Long, Tom (January 13, 2012). "Review: Efficient, energetic Mark Wahlberg action flick Contraband lacks character". The Detroit News. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Puig, Claudia (January 13, 2012). "Contraband can't sneak its shortcomings past viewers". USA Today. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- O'Hehir, Andrew (January 11, 2012). "Contraband: A thriller Mark Wahlberg can't juice". Salon. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Travers, Peter (January 13, 2012). "Contraband". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Smith, Kyle (January 12, 2012). "Shooting blanks: Wahlberg's latest is a perfect storm of bad plot, miscasting and unbelievability. In other words, Contraband is Mark raving bad!". New York Post. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Tobias, Scott (January 12, 2012). "Mark Wahlberg, After One Last Haul In 'Contraband'". NPR. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Guzman, Rafer (January 11, 2012). "An action-deprived Contraband". Newsday. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Chang, Justin (January 11, 2012). "Contraband". Variety. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Sullivan, Michael (January 13, 2012). "Contraband". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Gleiberman, Owen (January 12, 2012). "Contraband". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 16, 2012.