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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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Peter Chanel: Anyone who has worked in loneliness, with great adaptation required and with little apparent success, will find a kindred spirit in Peter Chanel. 
<p>As a young priest he revived a parish in a "bad" district by the simple method of showing great devotion to the sick. Wanting to be a missionary, he joined the Society of Mary (Marists) at 28. Obediently, he taught in the seminary for five years. Then, as superior of seven Marists, he traveled to Western Oceania where he was entrusted with an apostolic vicariate (term for a region that may later become a diocese). The bishop accompanying the missionaries left Peter and a brother on Futuna Island in the New Hebrides, promising to return in six months. He was gone five years. </p><p>Meanwhile, Pedro struggled with this new language and mastered it, making the difficult adjustment to life with whalers, traders and warring natives. Despite little apparent success and severe want, he maintained a serene and gentle spirit and endless patience and courage. A few natives had been baptized, a few more were being instructed. When the chieftain's son asked to be baptized, persecution by the chieftain reached a climax. Father Chanel was clubbed to death, his body cut to pieces. </p><p>Within two years after his death, the whole island became Catholic and has remained so. Peter Chanel is the first martyr of Oceania and its patron.</p> American Catholic Blog Here is an often overlooked piece of advice: When trying to determine what God wants us to do, we should seek Him out and remain close to Him. Makes perfect sense doesn't it? If we are concerned about following the Lord's will, having a close relationship with Him makes the process much simpler.


 
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