No one in the past few years has quite so committed to on-the-lam thrillers like Eric Bana. From “Hulk” to “Hanna,” the Australian actor seems to revel in the pulpy elements inherent to the films, and as the recently released trailer shows for his latest, “Deadfall,” he’s brought two veteran actors and a Southern accent out for a dose of genre fun.
Boasting the debut script outing from writer Zach Dean and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (best known for 2007’s fantastic “The Counterfeiters”), the crime-drama stars Bana and Olivia Wilde as two siblings making a run for the Canadian border after robbing a casino. Drawing law enforcement heat with every step and with the temperature dropping into the negatives, Wilde splits from her brother and catches a ride with ex-boxer (Charlie Hunnan) en-route to a Thanksgiving dinner with his mother and father (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson). As Wilde and Hunnan grow closer, Bana lays down a trail of blood in the wilderness on his mission to reunite with his sister, and the family that Wilde has come into may be the only ones who can save her in the end.
With promises of a chilly atmosphere to match the film’s weather, as well as large dose of graphic violence to boot, “Deadfall” looks at moments in the trailer to match a capable jet-black thriller, while at others it fails to differentiate itself from any other DTV crime-gone-wrong offerings. After seeing the film at Tribeca this past spring, we came down on the latter opinion, calling it “an arctic mess, a disjointed screenplay which hinges almost entirely on coincidence and iffy plot contrivances, filled out with wafer-thin characterization, and atonal dialogue.” Bana looks to be the best thing in the film by far though, adding a much-needed thread of humor and menace to the proceedings, so perhaps his committed performance is enough to garner a viewing when “Deadfall” hits VOD November 1st before moving into theatres on December 7th. [Hulu]