Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Cast: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek
Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: May 10th
Released some five months after it quietly died in America, and smuggled out while Star Trek and Iron Man 3 are taking up all of our attention, the signs were not good for Deadfall. And proper order too, as this is a film so tedious in its mediocrity it barely deserves mention. It’s nowhere near terrible enough to be enjoyable trash, but neither does it get anywhere near the sum of its considerable parts.
The story is agreeably high concept, with Bana and Wilde’s creepy siblings heading for the Canadian border after robbing an Indian Casino. Hunnam—doing the same ‘accent’ he does for Sons Of Anarchy—is heading the same direction after being released from jail, to have thanksgiving with his parents, Spacek and Kris Kristofferson, who always just looks like he’s getting ready to call someone a pansy and then punch a bear. There’s also something going on with a local deputy (Kate Mara) whose dad is the sheriff, which means she wants to prove herself so he’ll stop being a great big sexist. It’s very clear from the start where all three stories will end, and how they’ll get to that end point. It’s one thing to be predictable, but when the plot is meant to be the driving force that’s just unforgivable.
There’s some vague attempt to link the three stories by making it all about fathers and their children, but Deadfall‘s attempts at gravitas are about as subtle as the plotting. Any time a character needs to explain their motivations they tell a story about when they were growing up. They all do this in the same monotone that initially suggests weight, but really just shows how terribly drawn some of the characters are.
With barely anything to say and no new way of doing so, the film is left to fall back on visuals and performance and, to be honest, it covers pretty well. With none of the characters particularly well developed they’re left largely to their own devices. Predictably, some actors pull this off better than others (Olivia Wilde acts so hard she nearly shows some emotion), but mostly they’re solidly watchable. Spacek in particular is far better than this film deserves. It also looks pretty, if in an obvious ‘LOOK AT HOW MUCH SNOW THERE IS HERE GUYS’ sort of way. The latter element also gives the film its one sequence of pure entertainment, in the form of a bad-ass snowmobile chase. Like Tuk Tuks, they’re an underused vehicle and it’s good to see them getting a run out.
An Oscar wining director, a cool sounding western, Eric freakin’ Bana and some quality older stars (Sissy Spacek, seriously, what the hell are you doing here?) all mean that, on paper, this looks quite solid. But, much like we saw with last month’s Dead Man Down, European directors and American crime dramas just don’t mix.