Sunday 20 October 2019

Snow, robbery and sibling rivalry

Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Film Review: Deadfall (15A, general release, 95 minutes) **

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky Stars: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Sissy Spacek, Treat Williams, Kate Mara

Filmed in the snowy wilds of Quebec and set in the equally snowy wilds of northern Michigan, Stefan Ruzowitzky's Deadfall is the kind of hammered together B-thriller that used to go straight to video back in the 1980s and would be your third choice at Xtra-vision on a rainy Monday night. It's an uneasy cross between film noir and a western, and stars Eric Bana as Addison, a laconic criminal with a rucksack of childhood baggage.

He and his younger sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) are driving towards the Canadian border after successfully robbing an Indian reservation casino when their car hits black ice and flips, leaving them stranded in a hostile wilderness.

With their very survival at state in subzero temperatures, they decide to split up.

Addison takes off alone across country, robs a skidoo off a passing Indian (he won't be winning the paleface of the month award any time soon), and ends up embroiled in a nasty domestic dispute at the cabin of a debauched deer hunter.

Liza, meanwhile, uses her wiles to thumb a lift off a passing motorist called Jay (Charlie Hunnam), who turns out to have serious problems of his own.

These and several other sub-stories will eventually collide at the remote farmhouse of Jay's parents (Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek) in a film that relies to a thoroughly ridiculous degree on coincidence.

It's competently put together (Ruzowitzky's credits include the excellent Counterfeiters), but oddly paced and prone to bouts of windy and extraneous rhetoric, and Deadfall's action scenes are pretty hard to take seriously.

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