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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Contraband

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a hard working security expert who installs alarm systems in New Orleans. He’s given up a life of crime, that is smuggling and drug running. When his wife Kate’s (Kate Beckinsale) incredibly stupid brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) has to dump a shipment of drugs when customs boards the ship, the drug lord, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), demands millions of dollars in payment anyway, or he will kill Andy’s family. Chris used to run drugs for Tim and tries to reason with him. When he cannot reason with him, he returns to smuggling counterfeit US money from Panama to pay the debt, refusing to run drugs again.
 
“Contraband” is based on the 2009 Islandic film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam” and is a fairly exciting action-crime-adventure movie, a kind of Western set in the wild west  of New Orleans where cars, trucks and ships have replaced horses. Mark Wahlberg is always an easy watch and here he is a sympathetic character trying to save his wife and two sons, and his really dumb and self-centered brother-in-law, from being killed by his former thug associate. Kate and her loser brother Andy don’t seem to have come from the same family.
 
There are plenty of surprise switch-and-bait plot points to keep you watching, but somehow I just couldn’t buy the premise except for one major point. The story reminded me somewhat of Mark Wahlberg’s personal story of moving from a life of trouble making to a family man, good citizen, and productive member of society.
 
There’s very little moral behavior in the film unless you count Chris who will do anything to keep his family safe. After he visits his wife in the hospital (Chris’ trusted friend smashes her head into the wall and then tries to bury her alive) we know he has made sure that in one way or another, no one from his past will bother them again. 
 
Did I mention that this is a really violent movie?


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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog We all have fears, but we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus is always with us to protect us and give us courage. We only have to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. When Jesus gives us the victory, let’s be sure to thank Him and praise Him for what He has done.

 
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