Thursday, February 2, 2012

Movie of the Week: “Contraband”

Katie and I have seen three films this week, and the only one not nominated for an Oscar was our hands-down favorite. Hey, I told her so.

We saw “Albert Nobbs” and were underwhelmed by Glenn Close’s title turn, though we couldn’t take our eyes off Janet McTeer. And we were underwhelmed, period, by “War Horse.”

To get her back to the cinema after two lackluster evenings, I all but guaranteed Katie that she would like “Contraband,” the new Mark Wahlberg thriller about a smuggler who goes straight, then has to get back into the game to save his family. She didn’t believe me but went along anyway. Tonight, she sat on the edge of her seat for two hours and talked on the ride home about all the calories she had burned watching the film.

“Contraband” combines elements of “The Departed,” another Wahlberg flick about some very bad guys, including some bad guys you think are good guys, and “The Sting,” the Paul Newman–Robert Redford classic made nearly 40 years ago, about good guys turning the tables on bad guys. Throw in a wife (Kate Beckinsale) in peril along with two young sons threatened by very bad guys, and you have a calorie-burning edge-of-the-seater.

“Contraband” topped the box office list in its first weekend, January 13–15, although by the time we saw it tonight, there were less than a dozen people in the house. Is it great film art? Unh-uh. But it’s good entertainment starring Boston’s very own Catholic homeboy. Grab your spouse—though not your kids—and see it.

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