A fascinating and coolly methodical crime picture with absolutely brilliant cinematography from the great Lucien Ballard, MURDER BY CONTRACT is something like a tightly controlled tangent. We might be compelled to think of Hitchcock's ROPE, but here the antisocial transvaluation of values is undermined in a more rueful (deeply ironic) way: go ahead and buy your own line of bullshit, Buster, it's your funeral.
Vince Edwards got some serious young-Brando-as-a-sociopath vibes. It's not quite noir but it's got a pace and feel all it's own. It feels like it should've been made decades later than it was to pay homage to 50s flicks instead of actually being a 50s flick. Does that make sense?
A rather bizarre film. Is not entirely a noir, but still you feel the ambience but always contradict by the way Lenner’s films (between the way photography was capture in that time and almost Nouvelle Vague spirit of improve) and especially for the music (an italian guitar), always present and breaking the tension of the economy of the images and script.
There is something very odd about Murder by Contract; from Vince Edward's existential hitman and Perry Botkin's singular guitar soundtrack to New Wave-esq camera flourishes. For an unpolished, at times ludicrous, Noir B-Movie, Murder by Contrast is entirely fascinating. You can see Scorcese's infatuation with the film in Taxi Driver as Claude & Travis exist as kindred spirits, compulsive in their pursuits. Ace.
Stylised. Some kind of beautiful, creepy guitar soundtrack... a hitman who's half The Fonz, half Jimmy Cagney. Pair with a couple of impatient stooges who differ in how much they 'get' him, and you got a film. And not a bad one. Morality must be upheld, mind you; so it all wraps up prettier than a parcel. But plenty of good shots, and a satisfying aftertaste. You won't need to think - but that was fine for me!
A gritty and average concept for a noir film turned on its head by its telling. By that I mean, the central character is the bad guy and the good guys, merely secondary players. What is it about character viewpoint, that no matter how ruthless and evil they may be, we find ourselves rooting for them? This film manages to turn moral questions on their head, and leaves me feeling a little guilty by its trickery.
In a way, a must watch for all 'killer porn' exploitation film and clearly the inspiration for many later films. The end is weak, the libertarian angle on antimilitarianism/state murder does not extend into internationalism and the some of the discussion on morality/humanity/employment sometimes more of an accident than a conscious choice. In the end they are here, inform us and the film focuses on the right bits.
A real tough-guy movie. You can feel the sweat from the tiny apartments and smell the smoke from chugging Cadillac cars. Even if the supposedly 'genius' character is full of random, useless plans (a bow and arrow?), there's a tight script. Anyway, it's bizarrely self-contained. That's a good thing.
AKA Never Leave a Slugged Cop Untied. For a bright guy our villain makes several rooky mistakes. Good to see his motivation is entirely middle class ie needs the dough to buy some classy real estate where he intends to live happily ever after. Otherwise, his reluctance to rub out a broad in the line of business is unexplained and fatal.