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The Human Contract (2008)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 March 2010 (Israel)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,416 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 15 critic

A successful corporate type harboring a deep, dark secret befriends a free-spirited stranger who encourages him to ditch his stuffy lifestyle and live life in reckless abandon.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Larry
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Greg
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Rose
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Boyd
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E.J Winters
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Cheryl
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Brenda
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Tony
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Joseph
Daniel Escobar ...
Seth
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Thalia (as Nicole Muirbrook Wagner)
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Mr. Stealth
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Storyline

Locked doors, and the monster inside us. In L.A., tightly-wound Julian Wright is separated. He meets Michael, she's seductive and uninhibited; by chance, a few days later they connect. The PR firm where he's creative director is competing to be bought by a household name (think Proctor & Gamble); winning will bring money, status, and a big ad budget. His firm's win depends on both his ideas and his maintaining traditional values; so, he puts his divorce on hold. His family adds problems: childhood memories and his sister's abusive husband threaten his balance. His fuse is short. Will self control hold obsession and fury in check, or is Michael the spark that will start a conflagration? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 March 2010 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Bajo la piel  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the cemetery scene there is a grave marker with the name Makaveli and the dates 1971-1996 on it. This is a tribute to Director/Writer Jada Pinkett Smith's close friend and rapper/actor Tupac Shakur whom she knew since they were young adults. See more »

Quotes

Julian Wright: I have never believed I deserve to be loved. But now I see that everything I've ever wanted has always been right in front of me. I've been the only thing standing in my way. But no more. No more.
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User Reviews

 
Confining and confident
27 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Julian Wright (Jason Clarke) is a successful, if overworked, marketing specialist, who is unable to cope with several events from his past. Emotionally distanced he lost his wife to his friend and is currently contemplating signing the divorce papers. With his love life in tatters he focuses entirely on his job with a big pay rise and new office on the horizon. That is until he meets Michael (Paz Vega), a sexually charged immigrant with an overdose of charm and chaos (like Amelia on crack). Almost an erotic thriller, much in the vein of "9 and 1/2 Weeks", although with the slight twist that Paz takes on the role of Mickey Rourke.

I seldom tend to gift a movie more than it's general rating on IMDb, but I for one am completely sold by a very witty, well developed script with fairly deep underlying psychological commentary. I do understand some of the issues with the movie. First of them would be the main characters. Both Julian and Michael (however much eye-candy she may be) are severely unlikeable leads, but given that both have deep emotional issues I find their dysfunctionality rather appealing and warranted. This may cause a lot of negativity towards the movie due to the inability to form a connection between the viewer and the characters, but once you gloss over this and delve into the story it can be quite rewarding. The relationship between Michael and his family, friends as well as Paz is thoroughly believable, even if we fail to grow warm to them.

"The Human Contract" probably should have also had more focus around the main issue of contention: Michael. The addition of the family context was well warranted, if unevenly scripted, especially in the final act, where the movie does unforgivably falter and the resolution is appallingly done (acted, scripted and directed). Almost as if Jada Pinkett Smith had no idea how to finish the movie off nicely and concocted up a poor filler in which neither she not any of her crew had any faith in. Hence the unfitting hack-job to cap off some really inspirational filmmaking. Also some of the characters and situations seem superfluous and detrimental. In regards to this one big irk is the lack of resolution to Julian's marketing contract, which seems like a key part of the movie, but fails to be closed (it suddenly and inexcusably drops out of the story) by the end credits.

Nonetheless the dialogue is crisp and cerebral, while the direction is assured. All in all some very important elements for great filmmaking, but just needs to work a bit on some of the rough spots in the movie.

For those interested the movie does offer some great erotic scenes with real tension and memorable build-up - something that I haven't seen in cinema for quite some time.


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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