Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters) serves his noir on the rocks in this chilly, if ultimately just a bit too silly, genre thriller.

Screenwriter Zach Dean - who deserves credit for taking on so much in his first screenplay - gets things off to a booming start as siblings Addison (Eric Bana with a southern fried accent) and Liza (Olivia Wilde, ditto) race their car into a blizzard, fresh from ripping off a casino. An accident and a not so accidental death later and the pair - whose relationship is too close for comfort courtesy of an abusive childhood - decide that they will split up and head to Canada separately.

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Meanwhile, recently sprung from a penetentiary in Detroit, Olympic silver medal winning boxer Jay (Charlie Hunnam) is getting into a mess of his own that means he needs to leave town quick. Hitting the road, he is aiming to make it home to the loving embrace of mum June (Sissy Spacek) and stern ex-cop dad Chet (Kris Kristofferson) in time to cut the Thanksgiving turkey.

We are also introduced to put-upon and more than capable cop Hanna (Kate Mara), whose chief of police father (Treat Williams) mistakenly thinks that excluding his daughter from the casino robbery manhunt will protect her.

As Addison cuts a bloody swathe through the snow and Jay and Liza spark up a relationship after meeting on the road - it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out who will be coming to dinner.

Though the plot is stuffed with at least three coincidences too many, Ruzowitzky's stylish direction keeps you hooked. He's not interested in the 'neo' brand of noir but the original, grittier Forties and Fifties style. He uses the snow to his advantage, emphasising the unremitting bleakness and often shoots in virtually white-out conditions. He also stages some fine action sequences - in what one imagines were pretty tricky circumstances - including a spectacular snowmobile chase.

The actors eat up the stereotypes for breakfast, making more of their characters than you might imagine and for all that Dean's exploration of dysfunctional families punches squarely on the nose, Ruzowitzky bobs and weaves around the cliches in ways that lift Deadfall above many of its genre contemporaries.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2013
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A brother and sister go on the run after a casino heist, leading to big trouble for those they meet.
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Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writer: Zach Dean

Starring: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson

Year: 2012

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, France


Tribeca 2012

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