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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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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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