Contraband: a struggling ex-con must secure his family’s safety by doing one final smuggling run. Being a re-make of Rekjavik-Rotterdam, Hollywood does what it does best and strips out a lot of the smaller background stories, characters, undertones, and relationships that thickened up the original plot, and raised the stakes a little more. Wahlberg‘s steady, but disappointingly typecast as the everyman, and costume-wise, could be from any previous film. This is all minor compared to Giovanni Ribisi, what the fuck is he doing!? His lines were delivered in the most ridiculous accent I’ve heard in years. The rest of the supporting cast really do keep the film propped up, although nobody’s particularly stretched. It’s well-directed, with the urgency maximised and lots of nice shots that play with focusing – it feels quite European / independent. There’s a decent gunfight in the middle (audio is immense) and in true modern heist fashion lots of loose ends are tied up in the final 15 mins. Unfortunately, New Orleans felt like an excuse for decent music, and nothing more. As expected, this is pretty much a cut-down, edges-smoothed, version of the original. It’s decent, but I’d suggest seeking out the original instead.

Score: 6.5/10

  1. nasen75 said:

    I saw the trailer for this movie. I feel like trailers can be divided into two categories: One where the movie could potentially be really good or really bad, and one where the movie will fall right in the middle. I had the feeling Contraband would be the latter based on the trailer.


  2. Shaft said:

    I had the chance to see this in cinemas a week or two ago. It was a dilemma between it, and “The Grey”. My friend and I went with the latter, so “Contraband” will have to wait until the DVD release. The trailer was rather reassuring, and I admit I love Wahlberg, so…

    I’ll definitely try to watch the original in the meantime.


    • Paragraph Film Reviews said:

      Good choice there, The Grey is definitely the better of the two! Wahlberg and the cast do alright to drag this through to the end, but as mentioned, I’d see the original first and if you like the story, check out this version.


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