Tribeca 2012 Review: DEADFALL
DEADFALL is bound to get comparisons to FARGO. With a few minor script tweaks and slightly different accents, this could have been passed off as a direct to DVD sequel. It is not that there are any similar characters or storylines but more so in the look and feel of the film. Had this been FARGO 2, I’d call it a worthy successor although I’m sure others will want my head on a platter (or my body in a woodchipper) for saying that. Prior to seeing the film, I heard some strongly negative feedback and was even told to avoid it completely by someone who attended an earlier press screening. Since then I’ve noticed a slew of negative reviews calling it an absolute mess and much worse. Honestly, I don’t know why everyone is ranking on this film so much because I loved the hell out of it.
DEADFALL opens with a car crash. Addison (Eric Bana) and his sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) make it out alive but their driver is not so lucky. Addison kills the first cop on the scene while Liza stuffs a bag full of the scattered money they just stole from a casino. They decide to split up as they each attempt to make it across the border. Addison ends up killing his way through the woods and Liza uses her looks to secure a ride with Jay (Charlie Hunnum) to his family’s cabin near the border. It is Thanksgiving and he is going to see his mom (Sissy Spacek) and dad (Kris Kristofferson) despite their strained relationship. Problem is Jay just got out of prison and may have accidentally killed a former business partner who refused to give him the money he owes. Addison faces some obstacle himself with the police after him investigating the murder of the trooper he killed. Despite the wishes of her father / police chief (Treat Williams), among the search party is the very capable Hanna (Kate Mara) who just so happens to be old friends with Jay and his family.
Believe it or not, there are even more side stories and important characters that I’ve chosen to excise for time. Yes, the film is convoluted. Yes, it has moments of needless complications and mass coincidence. Yes, it can be a bit campy and has heavy-handed moments that feel a bit forced. Yes, the fairly incestuous relationship between Addison and Liza is a bit weird. Yes, the insanely sexist attitudes within Hana’s police department feel horribly outdated. Yes, I’m starting to see why some people didn’t like this film after typing all that.
But none of that really matters because DEADFALL is damn fun. And the single biggest aspect that will suck you in and keep you watching no matter how ridiculous things get is Eric Bana. If this film came out before KNOCKED UP, this would be the movie they were all toasting to in the nightclub. Eric Bana’s performance is brilliantly twisted and wildly unhinged without ever going too far over the top. Addison is a badass who does some truly awful things with a wink and a smile. The film has plenty of other great things going for it like some wonderful visuals, thrilling action set pieces, the beautiful Kate Mara, and unnecessary Olivia Wilde nudity. But the only real reason you need is ERIC F***ING BANA!