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"Deadfall": Boring Family Dramas Are All Alike 

Wednesday, Dec 19 2012

Distinguished only by its fantastic ensemble cast — including Kate Mara and Treat Williams — Stefan Ruzowitzky's Deadfall just isn't manic enough to be memorable. The sleepy thriller follows a pair of psychopathic siblings, Liza (Olivia Wilde) and Addison (Eric Bana), as they cross paths with an estranged nuclear family (Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, and Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam). After botching a casino heist and killing a state trooper, Addison and Liza split up and plan to rendezvous at the Canadian border. But while Addison, a loutish killer with daddy issues, offs a couple of alpha males and escapes capture in a series of forgettable action scenes, Liza shacks up with Jay (Hunnam), a recently released ex-con trundling home in a blizzard to his salty father and forgiving mother. Liza falls for Jay and renounces crime, but with no chemistry between Wilde and an especially lifeless Hunnam, the film's most important relationship never seems to matter. Worse, screenwriter Zach Dean never sufficiently develops Deadfall's main conceit: Living with an abusive family member is like being magnetically drawn to your worse impulses. Dean and Ruzowitzky teasingly intimate that Liza and Addison have started to develop an incestuous relationship, but they never follow through. And because Jay and his dad don't interact much, Deadfall's petulant "family sucks" thesis never sticks. There are hints of a fun, trashy film beneath the surface, but that film is always subservient to the dull one Dean and Ruzowitzky were more comfortable making.

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Simon Abrams


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