Contrived thriller from the director of The Counterfeiters
Stefan Ruzowitzky’s concentration camp drama The Counterfeiters won him an Oscar and promised to spring the Austrian director through the ranks of directorial talent. Strangely, it’s taken him five years to make his English language debut, and despite a great cast and moody, wintry atmosphere, his thriller Deadfall turns out to be something of a damp squib.
Doleful Addison (Hulk star Eric Bana) and mini-skirted Liza (Tron Legacy’s Olivia Wilde) are brother and sister, introduced while on the run in the aftermath of a bloody casino robbery. After their car crashes in Michigan’s snowy woodlands, they agree to split up to avoid detection; Addison abandoning his sister who hooks up with a troubled ex-boxer Jay (Charlie Hunnam) who is on his way back for Thanksgiving to his parents, June and ex-sheriff Chet (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson). Jay is an ex-con who is also on the run after injuring his trainer, and who lives in a shadow after winning gold at the Beijing Olympics. The weirdly incestuous relationship between Addison and Liza leads to a tense and decidedly unfestive family dinner with June, Chet and Jay that soon spirals into a bullet-ridden bloodbath.
Deadfall is a capable enough time-passer, with Wilde probably the best performer as she manages to fashion something sympathetic from her abused yet manipulative character. Bana brings some intensity to the psychotic Addison, but despite bursts of small-scale vicious action including a snow-mobile chase, there’s nothing exceptional about Deadfall at all. Ruzowitzky’s film, from a rather two-dimensional script by first time writer Zach Dean, plays like a generic low-budget crime-doesn’t-pay drama. Grim displays of guilt and remorse are on show from all concerned, but the seriously glum expressions of a high-calibre cast can’t inject any meaning into such a contrived story.
Limited release from Fri 10 May.