The Contractor — brisk thriller set within the murky world of the non-public navy

The place would we be with out chemistry? The title of Bourne-ish thriller The Contractor suggests a solo operation, and the story finds one man in a bind: Chris Pine solid as James Harper, a US particular forces lifer unnoticed within the chilly. Pine is that underrated useful resource, a reputable motion hero who also can persuade as a human being.

However the movie leans onerous on a double act too. The cue is Hell or Excessive Water, the high-quality 2016 neo-Western during which Pine and Ben Foster performed Texan brothers fallen on determined occasions. The Contractor isn’t a patch on that movie, however somebody behind the scenes was clearly a fan, reuniting the pair and offering the film’s finest moments within the course of.

Nonetheless, Pine takes centre stage, his efficiency mirroring the brisk effectivity with which the story unpacks itself. See James the doting husband and father; James the hyper-competent soldier, managing a knee wrecked in motion; James brusquely discharged for illicit use of painkillers. What that leaves is the profitable murk of the non-public navy, now house to former comrade Foster. Right here the characters aren’t organic brothers, however fraternally bonded anyway. The simple mesh of the actors sells us the connection: Foster the tinder-dry joker to Pine’s quiet man.

In Hell or Excessive Water the plot unfolded within the aftershock of the 2008 monetary crash. Now the financial disaster is that dealing with American veterans. Enter Kiefer Sutherland because the garrulous boss of a non-public safety agency, tending tomatoes and referencing Erik Prince, founding father of trade big Blackwater, in phrases finest described as colourfully unflattering.

The actual world lends the film gravity — however just for so lengthy, it seems. With Pine and Foster despatched to Berlin on a rabbit-hole mission, director Tarik Saleh pivots into an easy shoot ’em up. No catastrophe. Saleh is sweet on the visible mechanics, adroit in utilizing an actual metropolis as backdrop. Chaos deftly spills throughout Alexanderplatz and the sloped banks of the river Spree.

If The Contractor was solely ever going to be a purposeful thriller, that a lot can be loads. The snag is the hint of a extra bold movie beneath, one that might have pushed the dramatic stakes larger than the curiously muted affair we find yourself with. Pine and Foster make it pop even then — however, as their characters be taught, not each job deserves skilled excellence.


On Prime Video within the UK from Might 6