Deadfall (2012) Film Review, a movie directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky and starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, Jason Cavalier, Alain Goulem, Allison Graham, Patrick Kerton, Kate Mara, and Treat Williams.
When I began watching Deadfall I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t remember hearing about the film when it first came out, and judging on the box office numbers there were more than a handful of others who felt the same way. It has got to be tough opening in that blockbuster period between Thanksgiving and Christmas when your movie isn’t animated and doesn’t have any huge names. I think also a lot of people were turned off to the movie because it may have come off as unoriginal, a mutt, formed by the breeding of other successful snowbound, robbery-gone-wrong plots. This is fair. However, I would contest that while it may come across as similar from the outside, upon closer inspection the movie is in fact different than its supposed source material, and is in fact a fun, action filled thriller that deserves a chance.
Deadfall kicked off with a brother (Eric Bana) and sister (Olivia Wilde) on the run from a recent heist at a local casino. Bana’s character recounted his childhood days as they made their way north through a winter storm on the way to Canada. When their car unexpectedly crashed and a police officer showed up, he was quickly disposed of and the movie shifted into gear. Before you jump up and yell “Fargo!” I will admit that they bore a resemblance. Hell, even the camera shots looked a bit similar, however not only are cops killed in thousands of movies, but with Fargo and Deadfall, the murders served totally different purposes. In Deadfall this happened right away, starting the movie off (literally) with a bang.
One could accuse the movie of sampling snowy, murder-filled thriller A Simple Plan or even the heist comedy Trapped in Paradise because of some similar elements, but to do this is to take away from what was ultimately a highly entertaining film. Deadfall felt like a made-for-TV movie reworked and released by Lionsgate. This meant it was exciting the whole way through. And while it didn’t go too deep, it covered a broad range of emotions and situations that were ridiculous but not beyond the edge of reality.
The acting was solid, albeit a bit understated, which from my experience works better in a movie like this. Bana was excellent. His character made the film and his calm approach to totally insane was nearly flawless. Kate Mara (American Horror Story) did a nice job as the local cop struggling between daddy issues and finding her way in a small town. Charlie Hunnam was clearly typecast as the bad boy and while I’d give him a B-/C+, he did the job like a good solider.
It may have gotten lost in the tough winter atmosphere (Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Les Miserables), but there’s no reason to leave Deadfall out in the cold. Just think of it as another film, set in the midwest, in the winter, involving murder and robbery. Come to think of it those movies are some of my favorites.