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#OnTheBigScreen: The Contractor and Fireheart

This week sees the release of the action-packed thriller The Contractor and the animated Fireheart, where a young girl dreams of being the world's first-ever female firefighter.
Chris Pine in The Contractor
Chris Pine in The Contractor

The Contractor

Taking its name from a military expression used by the US Army and Special Forces, The Contractor is a character-driven action thriller with a deep, emotional core and a marked political subtext.

Chris Pine stars in the action-packed thriller as Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, who is involuntarily discharged from the Army and cut-off from his pension. In debt, out of options and desperate to provide for his family, Harper contracts with a private underground military force. When the very first assignment goes awry, the elite soldier finds himself hunted and, on the run, caught in a dangerous conspiracy and fighting to stay alive long enough to get home and uncover the true motives of those who betrayed him.

“My job as a director is to tell the world… Not what they want to hear – but what they need to hear. I’m not making films as steps in a career anymore – every film I make is my last film: this one is for my daughters – to say to them: listen, the world was at this crazy point – but we tried to make sense of it – to tell people: look you’re not crazy, you are not alone feeling lost. Expose the truth so we can do better. Life is too short to make films that don’t matter,” says director Tarik Saleh, who got his start in the mid-1980s as one of Sweden’s most acclaimed graffiti artists and made his directorial debut with Sacrificio – Who betrayed Che Guevara?.

Saleh believes that screenwriter J.P Davis has done something unique with his screenplay for The Contractor. “He has managed to create something that is appealing and important at the same time. A trojan horse. It deals with large themes; The American Dream, patriotism and the moral corruption of the soul – What happens when we’re being misled?’

Read more here.


Ever since she was a child, Georgia Nolan has had only one dream: to become a fireman, like her father once was. Unfortunately, in New York City in 1932, women are not allowed to practice this profession. When the city’s firemen disappear one by one in mysterious fires that burn down the Broadway Theatres to the ground, Georgia sees a golden opportunity. She disguises herself as ‘Joe’, an awkward young man, and joins the team of improvised firemen in charge of stopping the arsonist. Georgia must preserve her false identity at all costs, especially since her father will be in charge of this high-risk investigation.

“How far are we ready to go to achieve our dreams?” is one of the driving themes of the film, says French writer-director Laurent Zeitoun. “Despite barriers, social, family, societal, if we truly believe, we can knock those barriers down. Georgia is in the worst situation imaginable, a woman in 1930’s New York who wants to become a firefighter, she’s not very big or strong, she doesn’t fit the profile, but she has that inner fire and knows that it is her destiny. So with her energy and conviction, she succeeds. And this could apply to everyone who has dreams.”

“What I love about the film is that it’s funny, has a big, big heart and essentially, I suppose it’s encouraging everybody to dream dreams and try and achieve them, and if they can, talk about them and express them, and commit to them,” says Kenneth Branagh, who voices Captain Shaw. “The film I think also suggests that nothing is impossible. I think that story of being be inspired by those who went before and encouraging everyone not to… even with the best of intentions, to limit their dreams and their imagination, I think is part of what’s its sort of beating heart. But at all times, I think the message or the sort of themes of the film are always wrapped up in a lot of humour and a lot of delight in the fallibility of human beings.”

Read more here.

Read more about the latest and upcoming films here.

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit

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