Tagline: What Would You Hide To Protect Your Family?
It’s about time that we spent some time with Mark Wahlberg in front of the camera rather than behind it. The man who seems to devote more of his waking hours to executive-producing projects (Boardwalk Empire, In Treatment and, of course, Entourage) than appearing in them makes a return to the big screen in Contraband — which, back in the day, could have been a name for the kind of product he’d advertise.
Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, who has long since left his life of crime behind. But when his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), screws up a drug deal for his boss, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris must return to his ways of running contraband in order to settle Andy’s debt. So far, so sort-of-Drive. Except Contraband involves a quick trip to Panama and lacks the brilliant Carey Mulligan, so settles for fellow Brit Kate Beckinsale.
Critics aren’t sure whether to settle for the movie’s high-octane vibe. “Contraband involves a lot of energy, but I’m getting tired of violent retreads of these heist elements,” notes Roger Ebert. “If ingeniousness is a foreign concept to Contraband, so too are time and space,” slams Slant. But Entertainment Weekly can see the positives, stating that, “while often grungy and far-fetched, does keep you watching. And in January, that’s recommendation enough.” We kind of see where they’re coming from.