Saturday, September 22, 2007

Review: The Contract (2006)

There are many films that involve a lead character who is an active assassin, but isn't the primary bad guy in the storyline. Take a look at films such as the Terminator series (1984, 1991, 2003, and the upcoming 2009), or Léon: The Professional (1994). Each one of the five films that I just listed are excellent examples of films that actively involves a character with an occupation that is considered morally wrong by society, but storyline proceeds to twist the perspective of the audience around so that each viewer forgets the morally ill nature that is placed on the term "assassin."

The Contract (2006) is another example of one of those films that I have just described. John Cusack stars as a morally conscious father who, while on a camping trip with his son, crosses the path of a dying cop who was in the process of transporting a professional assassin played by Morgan Freeman. As a promise to the death wish of the cop Cusack's character upholds the responsibility to continue transporting Freeman's character until the authorities are able to arrive.

The story of the film depends heavily on the overly driven plot points that keep things progressing toward a logical and pleasant ending. In my viewpoint as the viewer I usually don't enjoy films that are plot driven, because there is very little reality built into the characters of the story. The primary characters are dragged along from plot point to point creating the scenario of the tail wagging the dog. Usually I'll overlook a plot driven film if there is some over powering quality that redeems the storyline from a ridiculously created writers block. For this particular film I thought the photography was the best attribute of the whole productions; some of the shots were outstandingly well done. But I still wouldn't think that the photography is stable and moving enough to redeem the film, because I was still focused on the poor character development.

Some of the lines that are spoken in the film don't even fit the type of logical pattern that I would think would be said in a comparable real life scenario. Upon the point in which dying officer asks Cusack's character to return the suspect to the proper authorities the son steps in with the suggestion that if the assassin escapes then he will intentionally return to kill both the father and the son before they are able to return to the comfort of their own home. If I was in a similar situation, by a far chance I would presume, then I doubt that I would be uttering those very same words. As the scene was progressing I had asked myself the question of logic. What if I were to ignore the morally conscious action of returning a captured assassin to the proper authorities? If I chose the alternative by allowing the bad guy to roam free would I truly believe that he would return with his henchman so that they could murder my father and myself? Reviewing the situation I would only think that my personal safety was endangered if I perceived the assassin to be a lunatic mass murder who appeared to be on par with Michael Meyers or Freddy Krueger.

My overall impression of the film leaves me to give it a rating of 5 out of 10. I'm being generous with the rating, because the cinematography was interesting enough to hold my attention and the acting was believable enough for me to at least watch the film all the way through until the end. However, I would recommend that you avoid watching this movie and spend your leisure time on one of the more entertaining films that I've mention at the start of this review.
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