Toronto After Dark 2019: Contracts (2019) – Alex Chung

Tonight’s entry in the Toronto After Dark film festival is the one film in this year’s lineup that I find a little dubious. I love that the festival embraces genre films from all over the world, and that they showcase some fantastic films, but Contracts seems like a bit of misstep.

In a post-John Wick world action films have to up their game, and Contracts doesn’t seem to be willing or able to do that. There’s a familiar plot plot, a number of contract killers are being eliminated by someone better than them, and is there a twist and reveal to go with the staged action sequences?… there sure is.

Now I’m willing to forgo the fact that of course, this production didn’t have a Wick sized budget, but I also think they could have paid more attention to technical details to make their film look as good as it could. There seems to be a lack of lighting (on interior and sets), and the images look flat, the only exceptional shots are the drone work over the recognizable city of Toronto and the outdoor sequence towards the end film.

Contracts_Screenshot_04

The story is muddled, and without the time taken to develop the characters the audience has nothing to invest in, coupling that with the less than stellar performances there’s not a lot outside of a couple of nicely choreographed action beats to hold the audience.

There is no denying that a number of the performers in the film are physically talented, but their acting skills aren’t quite up to par. Chung who not only directed the film but wrote and starred in it as well is an accomplished stunt performer, there is no denying that, but this film feels like it misses the mark.

That being said, I admire anyone who is willing to put themselves out there for their art, and it’s not always going to appeal to anyone, but at least they’re doing it. And that is worthy of applause.

And perhaps in today’s day and age where action films are plentiful, and perfectly choreographed and executed I’m just too jaded to enjoy a smaller crafted film. So check it out tonight at Toronto After Dark and judge for yourself.

There are some truly talented people at work in this film, I just wish the characters, story, and action beats had more substance.

What are you watching After Dark?

Contracts_Production_Still_06

 

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