Starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde. Written by Zach Dean. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. 14A. 94 min. Opens Dec. 7.
With the holiday movie season getting ever more crowded with competitors, it’s hard to believe this botched thriller will attract many viewers beyond the ones it’s likeliest to get. Those would be James Bond fans who accidentally misread Deadfall’s title on the marquee.
Just imagine their profound disappointment when they realize they paid good money to see Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde play a brother-and-sister team of crooks with thoroughly unconvincing Alabama accents. After a post-heist car accident leaves Addison (Bana) and Liza (Wilde) stranded in a stretch of wintry countryside, their paths soon cross with that of Jay (Charlie Hunnam), a young boxer and newly freed convict heading home to spend Thanksgiving with his folks (Sissy Spacek and an especially crusty Kris Kristofferson).
The English-language debut by director Stefan Ruzowitzky (who won the 2007 foreign-film Oscar for the Austrian hit The Counterfeiters), Deadfall falls well shy of its ambitions as a frostbitten neo-noir. Shot near Montreal but set in the U.S., Deadfall is still Canadian enough to include a snowmobile chase. Unfortunately, it’s utterly generic in every other respect. And while Ruzowitzky and screenwriter Zach Dean try to spice up the story by hinting at the potentially incestuous nature of Addison and Liza’s relationship—and by emphasizing the toxic family ties that exist among the other characters—it all just leads to the usual hackneyed confrontations and dumb shootouts. Really, it’s a shame that the producers didn’t have the foresight to properly cement the Skyfall/Deadfall crossover potential. There’s nothing here that couldn’t have been fixed by having Javier Bardem stroll into the fray.