The Contract (2006 film)

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The Contract
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by Boaz Davidson
Randall Emmett
George Furla
Andreas Grosch
Avi Lerner
Danny Lerner
Andreas Schmid
Les Weldon
Written by Stephen Katz
John Darrouzet
J.D. Zeik
Starring Morgan Freeman
John Cusack
Jamie Anderson
Alice Krige
Megan Dodds
Bill Smitrovich
Ian Shaw
Ned Bellamy
Music by Normand Corbeil
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Edited by Mark Warner
Distributed by First Look International
Release date
October 9, 2006 (2006-10-09) (Haifa)
July 24, 2007 (2007-07-24) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
Country Germany
United States
Language English
Box office $5,549,200[1]

The Contract is a 2006 film directed by Bruce Beresford and written by television writer Stephen Katz and John Darrouzet. A cat-and-mouse thriller, The Contract stars Morgan Freeman as assassin Frank Carden and John Cusack as teacher Ray Keene. Released directly to video in the United States and most of Europe, The Contract received little critical notice, despite its high-profile cast.


Frank Carden (Morgan Freeman) is a professional assassin who has been hired to kill a reclusive billionaire named Lydell Hammond, Sr., a vocal opponent of stem cell research. Carden's plan goes awry when he gets injured in a car accident and ends up in the hospital. When hospital staff see his gun, they call the police. They are able to peel away his false identity and federal marshals are called in to pick him up.

Widower Ray Keene (John Cusack), a high school gym teacher, ex-cop, and well-intentioned but not very able dad to Chris (Jamie Anderson), belatedly realizes the need to bond with his son when the latter gets caught smoking marijuana, and takes him hiking in the wilderness. Carden is being driven through that same wilderness by the marshals, but his men stage a rescue attempt. Most of the marshals end up dead; the car crashed and the surviving marshal asks Keene to take the prisoner to the authorities and then dies of his injuries. Ray and Chris have to get Carden out of the wilderness and hand him over to the authorities. Carden's men, highly skilled ex-military thugs, track them down to rescue Carden and kill the Keenes. The pursuit brings a couple, Sandra and Lochlan (Megan Dodds and Ryan McCluskey) into the crossfire, with Lochlan being killed by Carden's men.

In a tense standoff in a cabin in the woods, Carden's friends turn up and Keene agrees to let Carden go. Just at that moment, one of Carden's thugs bursts in and punches Chris, causing Keene to panic and kill both thugs, sustaining critical wounds in the process. Carden escapes, taking Chris as a hostage while Sandra and Keene are rescued by the local police. Feeling defeated and resting at home, a televised news report echoes an earlier conversation about Carden's job description with the key phrase "exterminating obstacles to progress", making Keene aware of Carden's intended target. Keene heads to the funeral of Hammond, Jr. to intercept Carden, and inadvertently saves Carden from an attempted assassination from Carden's recent recruit, Davis (Corey Johnson). Carden gets the upper hand on Davis, killing him with his own sniper rifle. However, the battle forces Carden to miss his own window of opportunity to assassinate Hammond, Sr. Carden relents in giving Keene a set of keys to a hotel room where Carden locked up Chris, letting father and son reunite while he disappears.

In Washington, D.C., Carden intercepts his mission handler, Miles (Alice Krige), aware of her role in hiring Davis to kill him. Carden threatens to pursue her if any harm were to come to the Keene family. Two weeks after the incident, Keene enters into a relationship with Sandra and holds a family barbecue, expressing disbelief in hearing a radio news report about Hammond, Sr. dying in a boating accident, realizing that Carden finished his contract killing.


Director Bruce Beresford talks extensively about the production of the movie in his memoir Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants To do This... True Stories From A Life In The Screen Trade.

The film was shot almost exclusively in Bulgaria and the DSK Bank central headquarters served as one of the main sets.

The scenes on the large rock were filmed at the Zlatnite Mostove on the Vitosha Mountain by Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria.



The film received negative reviews. It has a 0% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]


  1. ^ "The Contract". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ Onikoyi, Ayo (22 January 2012). "Nollywood is doing fabulously well, says Nigerian Hollywood star". Vanguard. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Contract". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 

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