4 Facts To Know Before Watching “Contraband” – A Film Review

Markie Mark Wahlberg‘s latest project, Contraband, is considered a niche film. The subject matter of niche films occupy a specific “niche” of human culture: i.e., baseball statistics ala Moneyball, bomb deactivations ala Hurt Locker, and, as in Contraband, smuggling.

Awareness of the specifics mechanics of the niche are not necessary to enjoy the film.  Most people have no clue the calculus involved in selecting sluggers for a team, or, how much pressure extorted on a wire can activate a bomb. Yet, these films appeal to a wide audience.

Nonetheless, we here at INFOtainmentNews.net thought it necessary to pass along four facts that will help to navigate Contraband:

  1. Smuggling is an actual “profession”.  Albeit, it is off the legal path. Despite this, there are intricacies to smuggling that mirror the gymnastics involved in obtaining a loan mod.  There are many moving parts that need to synch up in order for the goods to reach their destination. The moving parts encompass the actual goods, but just as important, the paperwork and certifications. It is not important to know the implications of a “bill of lading” to appreciate the film, but do know there are a lot of moving parts.
  2. Dockworkers, Bulk Bearers or Cargo men that engage in smuggling need be intelligent.  Mark Wahlberg, Lucky Johnson and Olafu Darri Olafsson play thugs, no doubt. Despite the rough exteriors, as the film progresses, their intelligence and sophistication manifests itself as the moving parts are synched up.  Per fact #1, the mechanics are intricate; thus, requiring sophisticated intelligence.
  3. The object of smuggling is not as important as the methods and logistics of smuggling.  Whether, drugs, counterfeit goods or vehicles, the object the smuggling is of less import than the method of smuggling. Smuggling is not about the good, but the method.  Should one good not synch with all the moving parts, smugglers always have a second or third option of goods from drugs, knockoffs, vehicles, industrial parts, and as in Contraband, counterfeit bills.
  4. Finally, this is a non-smuggling fact.  There is a third Wahlberg brother and he has a role in this movie, Robert Wahlberg.  He plays the brother in law of Mark Wahlberg’s character.  We bet you didn’t know that.

Contraband is worth a watch.  Mark Wahlberg is a true modern film thespian.  He is the breed of actor who researches and immerses himself in his character.  This acting-formula often yields powerful performances.  However, the film does fail in fully fleshing out the characters.  I wanted to see more and learn more about the dynamics between the characters. Of course, there is a long list of items related to conflict, plot, relationships, etc., that strengthen the film.  However, character development is a little light.

Director Baltasar Kromakur does a great job of providing a window into this sub-culture. You do not need to know anything about smuggling to appreciate this film.  However, you will need our four facts to help navigate the film.

IMDB Summary:

To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.


Baltasar Kormákur





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