There are a few spectacular moments in Deadfall, as well as performances to solidify these moments in their greatness. Somehow the magnificence of these individual moments is bittersweet, however, because the film as a whole is rather forgettable. The plot is just shy of containing enough material to make a feature film, spread out perhaps a bit more than it should have been. At the very least, I kept anticipating some further character development, but instead much of the film seems to be killing time in between those miraculous moments of purpose. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky handles action nimbly, though they are more often simply moments of violence. This is less of an action film, and more of a hodgepodge of horror, film noir, family drama and western.
When three thieves escaping from a casino heist are in a car crash, only two survive. Siblings Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) have a mysterious and slightly disturbing relationship with each other, but we are never given much of a chance to discover what it is before they split up to escape. Liza is rescued on the side of the road by an ex-boxer named Jay (Charlie Hunnam of TV’s “Son’s of Anarchy”), who is also on the run from the law. While Liza uses seduction to get where she needs to be,
takes other methods, leaving a path of carnage wherever he goes.
What sets Deadfall aside from many other films is
Whether it is the writing or Bana’s choices, he appears a unique type of
madman. There doesn’t appear to be joy or malice in his actions, but instead he
seems able to delusion himself into believing any violent act is justified if
he deems it necessary to getting what he wants. The best sequence in the film
is one in which this psycho comes across a Native American in the woods. This
battle doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the film, though it is one of the
most memorable within it. The story dribbles into predictable territory when
the siblings reunite at Jay’s childhood home, along with weapons and Jay’s
parents (played expertly and without unnecessary melodrama by Kris
Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek).