A B-movie with an A-list cast, crime thriller Deadfall sets its plot in motion with some bracing shocks in its first few minutes.
Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde’s incestuously close brother-and-sister crooks, Addison and Liza, are fleeing from a casino robbery in snowy Michigan when their getaway car hits a deer and flips over. Their driver dead, the pair split up, intending to meet up on the other side of the Canadian border.
On foot, Addison cuts a bloody swathe through the wilderness, leaving bodies in his wake, whereas Liza uses her wiles to hitch a lift with newly released ex-con Jay (Charlie Hunnam), a disgraced Olympic boxer en route to a Thanksgiving homecoming with his estranged parents (Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek). Meanwhile, sexist local police chief (Treat Williams) and his belittled officer daughter (Kate Mara) both get pulled into the manhunt for Addison.
As everyone converges on the family home, screenwriter Zach Dean blatantly signposts the way, plundering film noir clichés as he goes. Coolly ensnaring Jay, bad girl Liza even says, ‘This is kind of like an old movie.’
Yet, for the most part, Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky (an Oscar-winner for 2008 Best Foreign Film The Counterfeiters) keeps things moving briskly, while his cast give the material more class than it deserves.
Classiest of all is Spacek, whose homely mom character shows some decidedly impressive grace under pressure. Held hostage in her kitchen, she stops Bana’s gun-wielding killer as he goes to light a cigarette and calmly asks him to open a window.
In cinemas from Friday 10th May.
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