Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 3, 2012

‘Contraband’ a worthy thief of free time

DVD Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Properly feeding an unhealthy movie addiction can certainly come with plenty of chances to see the best submissions each year, but getting that fix means watching quite a few cookie cutter plot trips. Today’s point of review is the familiar run through the mill I’d like to call “One last criminally big pay off job so grand we can retire without somehow getting caught.”

Of course, with this type of recycled storyline I tend to give a little more leeway and as long as I can pretend to relate with at least some of the characters, it won’t be doomed to being shredded like its convenient plot holes. Fortunately this time I not only enjoyed the relationship between the heist participants, but felt it had just enough of a twist to keep me engaged throughout. “Contraband” is not much more than popcorn flick fare, but is far from the insulting distraction designated by the “critic elite.”

Set in a place perfect for all things illegal, New Orleans, life is actually on the straight and narrow for former contraband runner Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlburg). He’s pretty much comfortable in his business of ironically installing home alarm systems and not testing the law when his idiot kid brother-in-law,  Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), brings that old world rushing back.

Despite efforts to work out a solution with Andy’s mob boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), the only way Chris can fix the screw ups is to go back into the high risk business. However, what should be almost like a vacation with a multimillion dollar benefit makes things almost too interesting for everyone from Chris’ wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) to his best friend Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster). The pacing cleverly forces one to wait until the end to see all things resolved, which is the point even if the resolution sucks.

Though the result is barely short of comedy at times, the way the film deals with Andy’s almost Barney Fife level of bumfoolery does at least acknowledge one’s bad decisions can carry consequences to everyone else close to the moron committing them. Really, the only missing here was a yakkety sax music track as these blatant mistakes actually keep occurring after the first blunder.

It’s a bit rough for the younger audiences content-wise, but outside of regular shoot and run styles seen in similar flicks its standard fare for adults. I’m not inspired to own it, but it was good for an evening relaxing at home. As a result I’d say “Contraband” earns three out of five black markets.

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.