‘Deadfall’ Review: A Mediocre Thriller At Best

Deadfall is a mixed bag. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, the story begins with Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) having just robbed a casino when they get into a car accident while trying to get to the Canadian border in a blizzard. A police officer discovers the wreck and is promptly killed by Addison so he and Liza can escape. They split ways and their stories take different directions for the remainder of the film until their inevitable (and predictable) reunion at the climax.

Meanwhile, ex-boxer Jay (Charlie Hunnam) is released from prison and intends to go home to his parents, June (Sissy Spacek) and Chet (Kris Kristofferson). Jay finds Liza on the verge of freezing to death in the woods and rescues her. During this time, Addison is venturing into the woods having his own series of incidents that will leave a trail of bodies and lead to a reunion on Thanksgiving dinner at the home of June and Chet.

Bana is terrific as the troubled and conflicted Addison and is the real star of the film. His dark past and murderous tendencies contradict his protective and fatherly nature when he finds a mother and two young children in need of his help. Kate Mara plays Hannah, a state trooper at odds with her father, the chief, as they pursue Addison and Liza. Hannah and the story developed around the troopers are the worst part of the film (at no fault of Mara’s). The focus on her relationship with her father and the characters have no impact on the story whatsoever. If you removed the character development of any of the troopers, the main story revolving around Addison and Liza would stay the same and still hold the same emotional impact.

That kind of distraction also translates to the film itself. Mixed with some beautiful shots of the snowy woods to reinforce the feelings of isolation, Ruzowitzky also makes terrible choices when deciding to zoom and frame Liza and Jay together in the various awkward and terrible hotel room scenes. With quick and jarring zooms that aren’t used at any other point in the film, its a moment that takes you right out of the story.

Overall, the film has its moments and is at its best when Bana is on screen. His conversations with June and Chet at the Thanksgiving dinner are the real highlights of the film. However, despite good performances, Deadfall still has to be one that you can wait on.

Verdict: Wait for On Demand

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