The Contract (2007) - Widescreen
|Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller|
|Millenium Films || R - 96 minutes - $29.98 || July 24, 2007|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-07-26|
Writer(s): Stephen Katz & John Darrouzet
Cast: Morgan Freeman, John Cusack, Jamie Anderson, Alice Krige
Theatrical Release Date: NA
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Movies with big names that go directly to DVD probably interest me more than theatrically released flicks. Sometimes a movie is so bad a studio doesn’t want to spend anymore and just recoup some money while others couldn’t find a distributor. Where The Contract falls, I don’t know, but I’m leaning towards the latter. Starring Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins) and John Cusack (1408), The Contract has two leads that have certainly proven their worth but the two talents are thrown together in what amounts to a merely ordinary suspense-thriller.
Freeman plays Frank Cardin, an ex-military assassin now on his own who takes a contract to take out a high profile target. Before it could be carried out, he is captured and taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals for transport from Washington State to Washington DC. Funny thing happened on the way to the airport, Cardin’s cohorts carry out a sabotage that goes wrong after the car he was in goes over a cliff into a river. Cardin manages to escapes but runs into Ray Keene (Cusack) and his son out on a father-son camping retreat. Ray takes it on himself to deliver Cardin to the authorities while Cardin’s “friends” are also on their trail.
The biggest problem The Contract has is it’s quite ordinary. Some movies have spectacular action-suspense sequences, others forsake spectacle with character development and on the rare occasion, both can happen. The Contract, while not anywhere near a bad film, really has nothing going for it. Morgan Freeman and John Cusack are good as usual, but when you have little to work with, even the best of actor’s couldn’t save this movie.
Freeman and Cusack’s acting came across more effortless because the script doesn’t call for much in terms of background. Cusack spends much of the movie holding a gun on Freeman wile Freeman walks in front talking away about this and that hoping to stall so that he may get rescued. Neither actor give much depth to their characters so it’s hard for me to recommend the movie on that account, and yet this is the only thing the film has going for it.
Bruce Beresford directed this suspense-thriller is adequate as he has been on previous projects like Double Jeopardy, Evelyn and Driving Miss Daisy. Beresford utilizes the beauty of the Pacific Northwest (and Bulgaria) but fails to present any kind of atmosphere or momentum.
There’s an attempt at expanding the plot with people within the Federal Government to take out Cardin for this involvement with assassinations in the past, yet that subplot point never really amounts to much and felt like padding than anything.
If this were a theatrical release, I would’ve been more critical of it but given its direct-to-DVD status and the solid acting efforts of Freeman and Cusack, I’d say this would be worth at least a rental. If you want one word for this film, it would be: passable.
Inside The Contract Documentary (21:26) - Parts of this ‘making-of’ feature actually provides some insight in between the usual interview sound bites from cast and crewmembers where they talk about each other and how great it’s worth work together.
Also included is a photo gallery and trailers for other First Look pictures.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Surprisingly, this direct-to-DVD flick also includes a DTS track. It seemed a bit uneven at times between dialogue scenes where it’s too quiet and musical scores and action sequences when it was fully utilized. A Dolby 5.1 track is also available and is suitable for those without a DTS decoder.
The picture is in anamorphic widescreen (2.35 OAR) and looks great. The colors vary from cool blues at night to toned down colors during the day. It’s not overly stylistic but perfectly fine for this movie.
The Contract is one of the films destined for the infamous Wal-Mart dump bin. It’s not bad and has some entertainment value solely because of Morgan Freeman and John Cusack, but I can’t say it’s worth purchasing at retail price. If you like these actors then give it a rent, otherwise for it to air on TBS or something.