Dave White
Deadfall Review

Dave's Rating:


Mostly dead on arrival.

Like Gozer the Destructor assuming the form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, gun-toting bad guy Addison (Eric Bana) spends most of his time in this rural, blizzard-plus-corpses crime drama jumping from hiding place to hiding place, assuming whatever temporary identity he needs in order to stay alive and keep his own personal brand of evildoing afloat. To his naive sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) he's a protector and bad-touch lover. To the family of the horribly abusive man he just murdered for the sake of stowing away for a bit in their warm shack, he's an angel of mercy. To Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson, he's the ruin of their Thanksgiving meal. Wherever he goes he's trying hard to pretend that he hasn't recently killed someone or is about to kill someone. This doesn't last very long.

The siblings are on the lam -- a heist gone wrong -- and after Addison shoots a police officer the pair split up. Liza falls into the arms of Jay (Charlie Hunnam), a former Olympic boxer on his way home for Thanksgiving with his parents (Spacek, Kristofferson), while Addison journeys down a more convoluted path of murder and meanness. At the same time, a local father/daughter cop team (Treat Williams, Kate Mara) are closing in on the incesty Bonnie and Clyde, finally catching up to them around the turkey and stuffing.

Stefan Ruzowitsky, director of Anatomy, and first time screenwriter Zach Dean have created a shoot-em-up that can't decide if it wants to be In Cold Blood or Fargo, tossing in weirdly comic moments that do little more than interrupt whatever tension it's trying to muster and that mostly serves to mock the local hicks. The onscreen storm is as suffocating as the crazy quilt of Southern accents and Wilde can't catch a break from the script that calls for her to be both sexpot and innocent, exploited thing. Worse of all, even the cool snowmobile chase in the last act doesn't make up for the fact that there's nothing significant taking place. It simply apes too many other movies that aimed for similar outcomes and achieved similar success (i.e., not much at all).

Bana gives it his cruel best, but his Bad Man never even feels as dangerous or unstoppable as his character in Munich, must less in his greatest early role in the Australian crime biopic Chopper. Now that was a guy you didn't want to see coming your way. This run-of-the-mill murderer might terrify Sissy Spacek, but that's about it.


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