x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Film review: Deadfall is full of dark deeds, deep frozen

Deadfall boasts a classy cast and excellent performances.

Eric Bana in Deadfall. Courtesy Magnolia Pictures
Eric Bana in Deadfall. Courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Deadfall

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Starring: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson

***

Dark deeds unfold over a deep-frozen weekend in a small Canadian border town in this fatalistic thriller, a modern twist on classic film noir ingredients. Bana and Wilde play psychologically unbalanced brother-sister fugitives fleeing a botched heist and its violent aftermath, including the accidental murder of a police officer. Meanwhile, Hunnam co-stars as an ex-con boxer on the run from his own tragic mistakes. Inevitably, these three lost souls come together over an explosively tense Thanksgiving dinner, with Bana jabbing a shotgun in the face of Hunnam's ageing parents, played by Spacek and Kristofferson. This is one family gathering, we sense, that will not end happily. Deadfall boasts a much classier cast list than the first-time screenwriter Zach Dean's generic script deserves, doubtless reflecting the pulling power of the Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won an Oscar with his excellent 2008 Second World War drama The Counterfeiters. The plot contains a few too many neat coincidences and hammy touches, most notably Bana's strained Deep South accent, but these are consistent with the melodramatic B-movie tone. Aided by fine performances and starkly beautiful winter landscapes, Ruzowitzky elevates a routine piece of pulp fiction into a superior mix of brooding neo-noir thriller and brutal contemporary western.