Movie Review: Deadfall


"Deadfall" Rated R.

Nothing if not familiar, if also nicely shot and cast, "Deadfall" is not to be confused with "Skyfall." Not, not, not, not. A crime caper movie with comic elements, "Deadfall" begins with three criminals in a getaway car after holding up a reservation casino near the Canadian border.

Two of the criminals are brother Addison (Aussie Eric Bana) and sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) from Alabama. He's a big smooth-talking killer with a gun. She's a beauty in a slutty silver outfit with garters and stockings and high heels. They are unnaturally attracted to one another. She's counting out the cash they have stolen in the backseat. They drive in a terrible snowstorm and flip their car.

At the same time, more or less, a ne'er-do-well young man and ex-boxer named Jay (Englishman Charlie Hunnam, "Sons of Anarchy") is sprung from prison where he served time for throwing a fight. After beating up his former coach and believing he has killed the man, Jay returns to his family home where he and his parents, level-headed June (Sissy Spacek) and deer-hunter Chet (Kris Kristofferson), plan to celebrate Thanksgiving. The local cops, headed by Sheriff Becker (Treat Williams), are after Addison, who has killed a police officer by shooting him in the head. Becker's police officer daughter Hanna (Kate Mara) wants to join in the manhunt and aspires to follow Clarice Starling into the FBI.

But Becker, referring to a tampon for some reason, tells her to stay out of it.

How do you think this Thanksgiving turkey is going to turn out?

Directed by Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky, whose credits include the overrated World War II-era drama "The Counterfeiters" (2007), "Deadfall" aspires to be some kind of Joe Carnahan's "Smokin' Aces"-like movie, as if the real thing isn't bad enough. While the physical action is well staged, the film's plot and dialogue are a train wreck. Not surprisingly, this is screenwriter Zach Dean's first film. Not even Spacek can do much with the line "I wonder who that is?" when she hears a knock at her door. Bana huffs and puffs, some of it with an Aussie accent, his way through the film. Maybe "Smokin' Aces" was huge in Austria. But "Deadfall," which was previously titled "Kin" and "Blackbird" (Does it even matter what you call this?), is one of those films that makes you wonder: Why am I watching this?

("Deadfall" contains violence, profanity, sexual situations and nudity.)

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