Murder by Contract - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Murder by Contract Reviews

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½ April 30, 2019
Vince Edwards is excellent as Claude who is methodical, objective contract killer. Claude is a funny name for a murderer. Claude views killing as a job and avoids emotions.

Claude's story is conventional and added to this story are two funny squabbling characters, Marc and George, who dislike escorting Claude around Los Angeles.

There are several contrasts of tense drama that rolls into humor and back to drama. This dichotomy makes it original. The bouncy soundtrack is extremely unusual and adds a layer to the film that makes many scenes comic. The film has several scary scenes and Claude is genuinely scary.

A finely scripted, directed and edited film. The acting is perfect. This film seems like an independent film that the big studio did not ruin with cliche and tropes.
½ December 17, 2015
A rare off-beat film-noir that has huge Jarmusch-ish-ness.
October 13, 2015
Low budget noir gem Murder by Contract is about a young man named Claude who decides to become a contractor. He works his way up the chain, until he must eliminate a high profile target. After stalling for a bit with his two baby-sitters, he then realizes he might not be able to pull it off because the target is a woman. It starts off slow, but this noir thriller has plenty of excellent cinematography and dialogue. The plot gets a bit convenient at the end, with the woman and the Hays code, but I feel this noir film is pretty solid for what it is.
October 7, 2015
Fabulous movie. One of the best within the noir aesthetic frame although it's so much more than that. Why it's not more popular it's beyond my knowledge.
April 13, 2014
Interesting film noir with a great soundtrack that while original, parodies that of "The Third Man".
½ May 6, 2013
Filmed in seven days, this noir follows the hit man in it for the money. He's suppressed all emotions (or so he says) and exercises when he gets restless. Scorsese claims to have gotten some inspiration for Taxi Driver here. The soundtrack with its loping guitar plucking (not too distant from the Third Man's zither or some Italian comedy) acts as a counterbalance to the potentially grim content. Well, actually all of the waiting around for the actual hit is a bit comedic in itself. This hit man operates by his own rules and is as efficient as this 1958 low budget quickie.
June 6, 2012
The main character treats contract killing as just another business, and that's the tone the movie as a whole takes, too, which is a nifty little way of bringing us into the amoral universe of film noir while also making an implied indictment against soulless capitalism. If anything, the movie is ruined only by the ending, which insists on giving us the Hollywood ending rather than follow its theme to its logical conclusion.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2012
a very entertaining 50s noir that somehow escaped my radar until yesterday. the banter of the supporting characters and the third man theme music made me smile. great existential vibe, better than blast of silence. and surely a template for le samouraļ. oh those crazy, irrational, trouble-makin women...
April 16, 2012
Fine noir thriller,with unexpected events and turns.Vince Edwards plays Claude,an ordinary man who becomes a hired contract killer,doing his work efficiently. Soon he is asked to take out a key witness in a trial,but founds out that his target is a woman. He tries out different methods,does he succeed in his mission?What happens next,watch it to find out. The soundtrack(mainly an electric guitar is apt for the film.
PS- This is one of Scorsese's favorite movies and at 80 minutes wont take much of your time.
February 21, 2012
good noirish drama with music straight outta "the third man"
July 5, 2011
Super cool B-movie about an existential hit-man slowly plotting the execution of a star witness. With a spare electric guitar score that owes more than a nod to "The Third Man", and a cast of low-chain character actors adding humor; an independent film with a free form feel.
June 15, 2011
excellent noir thriller this is a B pix that really works. this is one martin scorsese's faves. the music score is very sparse only a single electric guitar but like welle's the third man (which it reminded me of) it works a the movie goes on and the characters get closer & closer the music add to heighten tension. final bonus: alot of the exterior shots r shot in my hometown of sta monica and it was interesting to see what it looked like back then.
March 30, 2011
vince edwards plays a zen-like hitman who has become a star in his new found career of contract killing. then he gets a high-profile contract for a witness against a mob boss. but he finds it hard to complete the contract because it's a woman - and women are "unpredictable".

some great dialogue in this film. it has a strange feel to it too - kind of "point blank" (1967). at least to me it does. it's not filled with the usual macho gangster types. instead it's rather philosophical.
January 1, 2011
The only type of killing that's safe is when a Stranger kills a Stranger
½ August 23, 2010
"It's tough to kill people when they're not dependable." An off kilter crime tale concerning a cocksure hitman hired to knock off piano player Caprice Toriel. With a dame, it's never easy. You can sense the approach of the 60s, Murder By Contract has a very hip, semi New Wave, semi Beatnik vibe with a funky strings score and quirky offscreen violence. Well worth a look for fans of the genre. VF.
½ February 5, 2010
A spectacular B-movie noir about a hitman with a difficult assignment. Vince Edwards is glorious as the cold, calculating, philosophical killer. Watching him coolly go about his work with detachment and precision is gripping. Director Irving Lerner tells the story with economy and flair, constructing a number of memorable sequences. The "waiting for the call" montage is a clear influence on Taxi Driver... indeed, Martin Scorsese is a big fan of the film. One of the most striking elements is the score: jaunty jazz guitar, very reminiscent of (and probably inspired by) The Third Man. The music builds and takes on a driving rhythm as the narrative becomes more tense. I got a huge kick out of this unique and compelling film. A few really shoddy rear projection shots and a somewhat annoying secondary character are the only notable flaws in this otherwise spellbinding treat.
December 4, 2009
Cheap-o B picture that kicks the shit out of pretty near any other crime film. Edwards is great in the hitman role, and the whole thing plays like a delirious comedy.
April 22, 2009
THE american le samourai, a couple perfectly assembled scenes, sparse, spare, taut, whatever, the score kills.
January 31, 2008
Good noir film...short, contained, and very emotionally charged.
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