The Contract Bruce Beresford

The Contract Bruce Beresford
"Every killer meets his equal,” boasts the tagline but The Contract fails to fulfil that claim. Morgan Freeman plays "bad guy with a conscience” Frank Cardin, who leads a team of mercenaries trying to kill a high-profile businessman. The Feds capture Cardin and Cardin’s team attempts to free him. Instead, Cardin lands in the hands of ex-cop Ray Keane (John Cusack), who is hiking in the woods with his troublesome son (Jamie Anderson). Cardin’s team chases Keane while the Feds (led by Alice Krige) chase everybody. Watching The Contract is like watching bits of many other movies: lawmen chasing fugitives, an innocent father-and-son getting tangled with fugitives, political corruption, turncoats, etc. The Contract never finds its own voice; it’s a mishmash of many thrillers and suffers from a plodding, paint-by-numbers feel. It doesn’t help that there’s no clear villain in this piece, so there’s no direct conflict to propel the film. The Contract tries to have it both ways by making Freeman a baddie but also a hero at the end. Cardin’s mercenaries and the FBI remain two-dimensional cartoons throughout. To cap it off, Cusack is never convincing as a haunted ex-cop and never sparks with his onscreen son. Stars Freeman and Cusack are outstanding actors but are miscast in this action/thriller. Really, it’s director Bruce Beresford who is out of his depth. Beresford excels with small dramas Tender Mercies and Crimes of the Heart but cannot elicit the suspense or adrenaline that this film needs. The only extra on this disc is an ordinary EPK "behind the scenes” featurette, which sheds superficial light upon the making of the movie. (Peace Arch)