Better movies are coming in the next couple of weeks, is what I kept repeating to myself as I sat through “Deadfall,” an incredibly average thriller about people with father issues.
Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde play Addison and Liza, two siblings who forged a very deep bond with one another during their young years when they’re alcoholic father put them through hell. Now they’re casino robbers on the run in the blizzard-laden countryside trying to cross into Canada. They decide to split up; Liza is picked up by Jay (Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam), a former boxer just released from prison for taking a dive during a fight who blames his trainer father (Kris Kristofferson) for that same fight, while Addison stumbles upon a hunting cabin where the mother and her children are in the process of being abused by their drunk step-father. Kate Mara is also on hand as an officer in the sherriff’s office, but her father, the chief (Treat Williams), is so protective of her as to not even hide the fact he’s misogynistic.
You can really feel the chill off of every snowy scene and there is, thankfully, a snowmobile chase midway through “Deadfall” that distracts from the rest of the movie, which is cold and tepid stuff. “Deadfall” doesn’t so much dramatize as much as it just keeps pulling out characters who share the same problem. The fact that all of them wind up in the same farmhouse for Thanksgiving dinner, where all of them get the chance to say their piece, is ludicrous.
The cast, which includes Sissy Spacek as Jay’s doting mother, deserves better than this; it’s only Bana, trying very hard at doing a Southern accent through the entire movie, who seems to be doing more than phoning it in. Otherwise this first effort by screenwriter Zack Dean and English-language debut from director Stefan Ruzowitzky (“The Counterfeiters”) is a noteworthy misfire.