Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. You’d think that with such big names headlining a movie you’d be at the edge of your seat, your heart beating fast, your eyes and ears glued to the movie screen, or, in my case, tv screen. Sadly, that is not to be. “The Contract” proves nothing more than a cat and mouse story with a feeble attempt at a twist.
Freeman plays ex-military man Frank Cordell whose role in society is to exterminate “obstacles to progress.” An accident leaves him in the “wrong” hands, a.k.a. the police and, eventually, the FBI. He almost escapes government captivity if it weren’t for Ray Keene (Cusack) and his son who spot Cordell and an agent struggling in a river where the two were passing on their way to camp. Before the agent dies, he tells Keene to take charge and make sure that Cordell remains captive. Keene almost lets Cordell go until a small error on Cordell’s part persuades Keene otherwise. What ensues is a not-so-complicated cat and mouse chase with Cordell’s team and the FBI trying to track them down.
Morgan Freeman is a pro. Even though he’s playing the bad guy, there’s always something about him that makes you actually respect his character. There was just the tiny problem of how an ordinary dad would be able to handle a cold criminal without getting himself and his son killed in the process. John Cusack was able to pull it off very well. Man who lost his wife and is struggling to bond with his kid in the midst of fighting for survival while doing his bit as a good citizen – yeah, Cusack’s got it down pat.
There are two ways of looking at the movie. You can look at it from the blockbuster fan point of view and say that this movie flops on all levels, but you can also look at it from the couch potato point of view and say that this movie flops on only some levels. The movie provides just enough thrill and a bit of violence to keep you busy for the next hour and half, but don’t expect fireworks and a big finale. Characterization was dry, the plot was simple and too convenient, the action sequences ho-hum. Perhaps the only interesting thing left was the relationship between the characters of Cusack and Freeman. Does Freeman really respect Cusack’s brave attempt at doing the right thing, or is he feigning respect to break free from his civilian captors? We’re left guessing throughout the movie because Cordell says and does something to prove his respect, then turns around and gets people killed.
Freeman and Cusack. Excellent combination, but poor medium to showcase it. Watch it anyway for the eye-candy that is John Cusack. 🙂