Addison (Eric Bana) and his sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) are headed for Canada after robbing a casino when they’re in a car accident. The two separate, with Addison telling Liza to find her way to the border since nobody is aware she was part of the robbery. At the same time, Jay (Charlie Hunnam) is just released from prison, and is on his way home to see his parents. As he’s traveling home, he finds Liza freezing on the side of the road and picks her up. This begins a collision course between the lives of Jay, his family, and siblings Addison and Liza.
Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, Deadfall is at its best when following Addison’s storyline. Eric Bana does a fantastic job playing what is technically a one-dimensional character. Brutal in his execution, but seeming to find it all morally challenging, Addison doesn’t really challenge what we’ve come to expect from a character like this. He’ll kill a man for harming a woman, but he’ll also murder a random man for his snowmobile. He’s the killer with a bit of heart, which may not be something new, but Bana makes it interesting.
On the other side is the story of Liza and Jay. They randomly meet on the road and quickly launch into a love affair. It’s ridiculous, and becomes rather boring in comparison to the action that follows Addison. This relationship plays a large part in the film, but is given limited screen time. Things really pick up when Addison finds himself at Jay’s family home with his parents June (Sissy Spacek) and Chet (Kris Kristofferson). Preparing for Thanksgiving dinner and waiting for Jay to arrive, his family has no idea that Jay is actually bringing home one of the criminals that the police have been searching for.
The tension in the last half hour is through the roof, and Eric Bana presides over one of the most unusual, and chilling dinner scenes ever. There’s an unfortunate side story involving the sheriff (Treat Williams) and his daughter, fellow officer Hanna (Kate Mara). Everybody treats her badly because she’s a woman, and her father never seems proud of her. This ultimately leads nowhere, with Hanna never performing the heroic action we’re waiting for, and her father never giving her the respect she deserves. It doesn’t bring anything down, it just doesn’t add anything to the film either.
Is Deadfall Opening Weekend Worthy?
Unfortunately, no. Eric Bana is incredible, and his scenes may be a bit predictable, but he pulls it all off. It’s the rest of the stories that slow things down. Watching Olivia Wilde just isn’t that exciting, and the further subplot with Hanna and her father is pointless and annoying. Catch a Tuesday show just for Bana’s performance, but don’t race out to see this one. The film opens Friday, December 7, 2012 at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas.