d e a d f a l l
10th May 2013
Eric Bana, Oliver Wilde
10th May 2013
Deadfall should be a great movie. It isn't. It's a mediocre movie that wastes it's extremely talented cast a with a script that simply doesn't measure up to it's aspirations.
The film opens post heist with semi-incestuous brother and sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) and Addison (Eric Bana) going their separate ways in the snowy woods after their car slides off a verge killing the third wheel in their stick up party (he should have worn his seat belt, says Addison). Addison tells Liza to look after herself like he taught her, we suspect this isn't hand to hand combat and sure enough she happens upon local lad Jay (Charlie Hunnam) also in trouble with the law (although not enough to suspect roads would be closed for him, surely?) and the two of them handily get snowed in at a motel with a bar AND a disco ball. Result. Addison trudges his way across the snow in a confused angel / demon fashion simultaneously killing in cold blood and saving babies. What a guy. Meanwhile at the local police station some 70's misogyny is rife with the sheriff and his bright capable daughter (Kate Rooney) whom he suggests may not work well in the field in case she has to 'change her tampon'. That really is a line from the film. All three stories are about family and what is expected of them and all three strands collide at Jay's house where they give tense family Thanksgivings a new name.
Deadfall wants to be a sexy, Lynchian thriller but instead it feels like a late night TV movie on Channel 5. The dialogue is hammy at best and Charlie Hunnam and Olivia Wilde suffer the worst of it. These are two REALLY sexy, talented actors - no doubt about it - but the script is so limp and unexciting there is zero spark between them. When they fall into bed together Liza says 'fuck me' to Jay - it felt like I was watching a sex scene with my parents, I actually hid behind the sleeves of my jumper. It's just all so cheesy and uninventive that physically we are with them but when they open their mouths it falls to pieces. Stefan Ruzowitsky, whose Counterfeiters I so liked, seems really to have lost his way here.
Eric Bana has all the best lines and the best scenes but that's not saying that much. Addison should be a troubled psychopath / Southern gent but Bana isn't quite pulling off the accent or the layers needed to make a character like that intriguing. There are some nice moments with him though and the final scenes in the family house go some way to creating tension but one would hope when you've got Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson to play with you could make a decent scene out of it.
The inspiration came from writer Zach Dean being stuck on a place whose landing gear wouldn't retract and it needed to land elsewhere. On this flight he pondered his fate and came up with Deadfall. What? That's not that scary is it? If the landing gear didn't come down yes we all might die but surely not retracting means just landing at some point and getting on another flight (maybe that's why, he would have to wait for ages at LAX). Let's just hope he never gets on a malfunctioning flight again.
It's a shame about Deadfall, it could have been really interesting and dark, instead it's a dull disappointment.