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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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Joseph Benedict Cottolengo: In some ways Joseph exemplified St. Francis’ advice, "Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress" (<i>1 Celano, </i>#103). 
<p>Joseph was the eldest of 12 children. Born in Piedmont, he was ordained for the Diocese of Turin in 1811. Frail health and difficulty in school were obstacles he overcame to reach ordination. </p><p>During Joseph’s lifetime Italy was torn by civil war while the poor and the sick suffered from neglect. Inspired by reading the life of St. Vincent de Paul and moved by the human suffering all around him, Joseph rented some rooms to nurse the sick of his parish and recruited local young women to serve as staff. </p><p>In 1832 at Voldocco, Joseph founded the House of Providence which served many different groups (the sick, the elderly, students, the mentally ill, the blind). All of this was financed by contributions. Popularly called "the University of Charity," this testimonial to God’s goodness was serving 8,000 people by the time of Joseph’s beatification in 1917. </p><p>To carry on his work, Joseph organized two religious communities, the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Joseph, who had joined the Secular Franciscans as a young man, was canonized in 1934.</p> American Catholic Blog The image of God! This is what it means to be human! We are not just a bunch of cells randomly thrown together by some impersonal forces. Rather, we reflect an eternal God who knew us from before we were made and purposely called us into being.

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