Friday, December 7, 2012

Deadfall Movie Review

Olivia Wilde stars in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Deadfall

From our friends at DC Film Review...

Deadfall: Name Me!

When did killers become so much fun to be around? Eric Bana kills and terrorizes with the best of them in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s crime drama Deadfall; but does so with disarming charm and (dare I say?) humor. It’s a lot to take in (yet alone, buy into) but the end result is surprisingly entertaining and strangely appealing.

There’s nothing strange about Bana’s co-star Olivia Wilde who has appealing written all over her (Wilde is the only two-time winner of Ms. DC Film Review, and a clear frontrunner for her third title this month.) Wilde stars as Liza, fresh off her first big score... robbing a casino with brother Addison (Bana.) When asked how she feels, Liza responds with a mixed bag of emotions, ‘Excited. Nervous. (And after a long pause) Shame.’ Before the audience has time to gauge Liza’s reactions, the siblings survive a fatal car crash (there’s a blizzard) that kills their getaway driver.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere, a state trooper shows up immediately... offering help. Addison responds as most protective, big brothers would under the same circumstances... He kills the cop (but apologizes right before... he must be good deep down, right?) Addison and Liza decide to split up and meet again... closer to the Canadian border (and supposed freedom.)

What follows next is difficult to explain in one review. Suffice it to say, there’s death aplenty and a smörgåsbord of blood and violence that doesn’t necessarily scream “holiday entertainment.” This, despite numerous references to family (‘You can pick the guy, but you can’t pick the family’) and a Turkey Day dinner that brings new meaning to the term “being thankful.”

There’s a lot to keep track of in Deadfall... perhaps too much. Ruzowitzky jumps from one storyline to another with breakneck speed, often leaving his audience stunned (either from graphic violence or a rash of insults hurled at and by his main characters.) The putdowns are particularly scathing towards Hannah (Kate Mara) the sheriff office’s lone female deputy, who has to endure stuff like, ‘What happens if something major happens out there, and you have to change your tampon?’ or ‘If you were one of my boys, I’d hit you so hard.’ Before you brush these off as idle verbal jabs, consider their source... Hannah’s father, Becker (Treat Williams) who just happens to be the town sheriff. Ouch.

Deadfall is chock full of stellar performances. Bana rehashes his role from Hanna with a sprinkle of Chopper put in for good measure. Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam delights as Jay, an Olympic boxer who falls for Liza; while Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek make due with smaller (but no less interesting) roles as Jay’s parents and hosts of perhaps the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner in the history of cinema. Props to Spacek for delivering the movie’s best line, ‘A panicking woman is no good to anybody’ after being taken hostage by Bana’s Addison. Someone please tell me why the former Oscar winner (Coal Miner's Daughter) isn’t in more movies. All hail the great Sissy Spacek.

I purposely omitted Wilde, because anything less than her own paragraph would be a crime on to itself. I can’t recall a sexier performance in my nearly four years of reviewing movies. While brother Addison busies himself killing almost everyone in his path, Liza focuses her energy on melting hearts (namely Jay’s and yours truly.) Lines like, ‘You can look,’ ‘I’m your little girl’ and my personal favorite, ‘Name me’ are enough to make a grown man cry. Coupled with frequent flashes of the most mesmerizing eyes in Hollywood, Wilde stands alone as the very definition of sexy. I don’t mean to diminish her performance, which is terrific... but she plays the best temptress since Mae West.

It’s also hard to take your eyes off this movie; but the ending pushes the boundaries of common sense a bit too far. Ruzowitzky keeps a trick or two up his sleeve for the final showdown, but the path there is lined with way too many improbabilities. If you’re willing to suspend belief for the final 15 minutes or so, you may enjoy it almost as much as I did.

Grade: B