The latest offering from Austrian born director Stefan Ruzowitzky seems to literally fall down dead in its tracks. The Michigan crime heist movie was released earlier this month and despite starring the infamous Eric Banner (AKA Chopper) and the beautiful Olivia Wilde, casting is not enough to carry this movie to the finish line.
The film follows the tale of two siblings who are forced to make a fast fire escape from a bodged casino heist. With a dead state trooper on their hands they decide to split the loot and part ways into the cold, dark wilderness. An unlikely twist of fate pulls them together at a family thanksgiving dinner.
Critics have called the film Deadfall a grisly and nihilistic feast that does little to satiate the viewer’s desire for a storyline and believable characters. The plot line for Deadfall is nothing new, in fact we have seen it all before in Fargo and The Reindeer Games. The latter of which was an expensive flop from the top of the Hollywood diving board. Despite intense performances by both Banner and Wilde the film doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Instead we are left with an attempt at noir that despite having plenty of grit, sex and death doesn’t have the dark and fantastical elements to make it a good film.
The action scenes in this low brow crime drama are string to say the least. As short shots of action the car chases are sublime, the knife fight plausible and the snow mobile chases…well a little silly. But still these heightened moments of drama are what keep the script alive in short sharp moments of heat in an otherwise cold and unexciting movie.
Cold is certainly the word to use when describing a movie that was filmed in blizzard conditions. The constant snowfall will leave you shuddering as you watch Wilde prance about in a miniskirt in the Michigan woods. It seems Ruzowitsky should have made a choice when he began working with this plot – whether to make it a full on farce or a serious edge of the knife display. In its current state it hovers between both, some tongue in cheek moments against abundant grit and gristle.
Watching Olivia Wilde tackle the morose role of playing the noir heroine can make you feel a little exhausted as you try to keep up with her femme fatale character. Is she innocent, cruel, sexy, strong, broken? It seems her character embraces every old cliché and turns out in 2D motion. That’s not to say Wilde doesn’t deliver a strong performance, yet the simmering and seductive farce does little but keep the film Deadfall dangling on the precipice.
Despite the harsh reviews Deadfall isn’t all bad, there are a few redeeming features and the film would have a perfect addition to a lazy Sunday afternoon TV drama. However when it comes to raking in the big bucks at the box office you could feel discontent at spending your hard earned cash on this botched film noir.