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The Contract (Steelbook Packaging)
The Contract
Steelbook Packaging
Actors: Ned Bellamy, John Cusack, Jonathan Hyde, Alice Krige, Bill Smitrovich
Director: Bruce Beresford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2008     1hr 36min

The only thing standing between an assassin and his target is a father who must protect his son. While on a hiking trip to reconnect with his son after the death of his wife, Ray Keene (John Cusack) stumbles into a nightma...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ned Bellamy, John Cusack, Jonathan Hyde, Alice Krige, Bill Smitrovich
Director: Bruce Beresford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 12/02/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

The Contract - high stakes action in the Pacific Northwest
Eddie Lancekick | Pacific Northwest | 07/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Contract has a great duo helping it with Cusack and Freeman at the helm, and reminds me sometimes of films such as Cliffhanger and The Hunted. The scenario of a fugitive on the run in the wilderness is nothing new but this film also has some nice political intrigue. I found the arrogant attitude of the "East Coast" suits to be somewhat believable although at times the film had some unbelievable aspects to it when it came to technical direction. The main one was the depiction of a helicopter crash that showed the landing as an outcome that was totally different given the previous scenes that showed how it was disabled and what the angle of descent was. Regardless, that is nitpicking and not unexpected as this film is not a dark drama that you would find perhaps from the talents of Michael Mann. The scene shortly before the end depicting Cusack's character (Ray) meeting up again with Freeman's (Cardin) was a bit over the top, considering what Ray had just gone through he would have been interviewed extensively perhaps for the next several weeks and not simply allowed to go home and watch the 6:00 news the next day.

The film is enjoyable for the fact it is centered on a recently captured man who is in charge of putting teams together to carry out high profile contract killings. The story plays out not on the streets of Los Angeles or New York City, but the vast mountainous region of Washington State. Freeman and his crew of associates are believable for the most part, and the in-house fighting that erupts among them when things go wrong is a nice addition to the turmoil they face, although not surprising or unexpected. Car wrecks, Helicopter crashes and shootouts all meld together pretty nicely. Overall, this film is a good action thriller with a recipe that includes enough adventure to keep you watching till the end.
Not Worth The Paper It's Written On
Mark Eremite | Seoul, South Korea | 01/07/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I see John Cusack and Morgan Freeman's face on the cover of a DVD box, I buy it. Not that these guys have never made a bad movie, but they've certainly never made a movie worse. The same is true here, although the movie was already pretty bad to begin with.

Gym teacher Ray Keene (Cusack at his most vacant) has a pubescent son who is grappling with several dull plot contrivances (the Dead Mom and Infrequent Pot Smoking). In an attempt to bond with him before he goes too far down the wrong path, Ray takes his boy hiking. Turns out they BOTH end up down the wrong path, in the middle of which is escaped-assassin, Frank (Freeman, who gives new meaning to the phrase "phoning it in"). Frank is pursued by his team of assisstants (assassisstants?), who want badly to be paid, but not far behind are also a group of snobbish U.S. Marshalls who have their own agendas. It's Ray's job to avoid these two deadly (?) forces and bring Frank to justice.

No, wait. Ray's job is a gym coach, making the next several hours of his life a pretty amazing feat, as he scales bluffs, outwits and outmanuevers a whole cadre of military-trained mercenaries and political heavies that appear to have no skills beyond complaining about coffee and smirking smugly at the incompetent local lawmen. And, to be fair, the local lawmen are remarkably incompetent.

Who wrote this thing? Furthermore, how did they get Driving Miss Daisy's Bruce Beresford to direct? That must be, at least, how they got Freeman to lend his Oscar-winning weight to the title. And that would explain Cusack (because who WOULDN'T want to star next to the incomparable Freeman?). But none of it explains the script's tired dialogue ("You said mom would be okay!" Ray's son, Chris, keens. "But she wasn't okay! She wasn't okay!"). None of it explains the crumpled story-line or the ludicrously two-dimensional characters (Alice Krige's skullish Gwen Miles is so flat she seems concaved). And the plot holes! Let's just say that they eventually become an acquired taste. By the time you get to the scene I call the "Helicopter Crash Conversation," you'll be shaking your head AND laughing.

The really funny thing, though, is that it's obvious SOMEONE put a lot of work into the film. Certain scenes (the hit-and-run at the start, the accident that leads to Frank's initial capture) are smartly done. And in the hands of an abler scribe (it was penned by the late Stephen Katz, who did mostly teleplays for The A-Team and Hardcastle and McCormick) it might have pulled together into something you could take a passing interest in. Instead, there's this silly, incomprehensible glob of a film, notable only for being the first time I've ever seen Morgan Freeman look tired without also thinking he was doing a great job of acting like it."
What happens when a bad film happens to good actors...
secrethalo | United States | 09/23/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I'm a fan of both Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. But this film does them little justice. Mainly the poor script and amateur supporting cast ruin what could have been an interesting movie. Worth it to watch on a rainy day, for free. Do not pay to see this movie."
Enjoyable popcorn thriller...
MattW | Seattle, WA USA | 05/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Enjoyable if not derivitive thriller with perfunctory performances by leads Morgan Freemand and John Cusack. The storyline is thin, the characters are thin, but the film is beautifully shot, had some wonderful set pieces (the cliff scene) and some moments of nice suspense and action. A few of the action sequences are extremely well executed and surpisingly quite thrilling. On the downside, the movie definitely plays it too safe, there's certainly nothings screaming "extraordinary" in any sense, and is lacking verisimilitude. Still, it's a pleasant and very scenic journey, has some memorable moments, and John Cusack and Morgan Freeman even when only mediocre are still always fun to watch on screen."