Movie Review: ‘Deadfall’ is a Cool Time at the Movies
When a casino heist goes wrong and southern siblings Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza’s (Olivia Wilde) wheelman crash their getaway vehicle, the two must split up in the freezing and snow covered Michigan wilderness to avoid getting caught. Making a run for the Canadian border, Liza, using her charm and beauty, hitches a ride with a recently released convict and ex-boxer named Jay (Charlie Hunnam), who plans on stopping by his parents near the Canadian border for Thanksgiving. Addison on the other hand sticks to the forest, using his intelligence, survival instincts and violent tendencies to make his way towards his sister’s destination. When the two reunite the result is a tense, Mexican stand-off if you will, that’s both exciting and dramatic.
Deadfall isn’t a very fast moving thriller but it sure as hell is a lot of fun and most certainly has its moments of speed and adrenaline induced excitement.
Eric Bana, with his Australian sounding southern accent, steals the show and reminded me of Omar from The Wire. He’s a twisted and violent man with principles, one that won’t kill people if they don’t need to be “got,” so to speak, but when you push and test him that’s when the shotgun will unflinchingly come out, with the trigger ready to be pulled without question. He’s the exact opposite of his baby sister Liza, whom he has a very close and almost seemingly incestual relationship with, though that is not the case. In fact, she’s just never had the opportunity to break free and that’s where Jay comes in.
Jay, unbeknownst to Liza, is a recently paroled convict who, like her, is on the run for a potential crime. After they meet, Jay gives Liza the cold shoulder for the better part of the first act, but once they start fantasizing and opening up to each other, they realize that they’re not so different, they both had problems with their father, and that they can both offer what the other doesn’t have, a loving partner and an appreciation for life.
As the relationship between Jay and Liza starts to heat up, the stakes continue to rise for Addison as the cops close in on his position. Eventually there is a standoff at a cabin in which cops go down and Officer Hanna, who has her own daddy issues on the force, and her dick-of-a-colleague engage in a crafty and cool snow mobile chase that results in a clever neck slicing and a wounded Addison.
Eventually, Jay, Liza and Addison reunite at Jay’s parents house, a place that jay would rather not be due to his unforgiving father, but when held at gunpoint on Thanksgiving the only thing you can do is eat your meal and respect the wishes and demands of the guy holding the shotgun. A lot is revealed during the climactic dinner and the heat gets turned up for an exciting finale that makes you say to yourself, “damn, that was a cool-ass movie”
Deadfall is a story driven by its characters and their principles, it’s about forgiving and letting go, and all of this is visualized through sex, violence and tough love. Thanks to a strong cast delivering understated and emotional performances (though Charlie could have been slightly better), Deadfall ends up being a riveting and fresh crime thriller that takes a simple story and gives it the necessary emotional framework to make the movie more intelligent and worthy of your time.
Rating: Thanks to the violent nature of each character, Deadfall is a really cool time at the movies (7/10)