There are films that you love, there are films you hate, and there are those in between. They may grip you for a while before fizzling out. They may present a story that you simply can’t get into. They may even feature all the proper elements to make a great film yet those ingredients don’t make a great whole.
In the case of Deadfall, a film barely released to theaters last year, the ingredients most certainly are there to make a potent whole. The movie stars Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde as ambiguous (in more ways than one) criminal siblings who just scored a big haul along with their partner and are heading to Canada to get away. But as they make their way through a snowy road, they hit a deer and their car flips. Their partner dies in the crash and before the duo can fully emerge from the wrecked car a police officer has arrived to see what’s going on.
Addison (Eric Bana) kills the cop and flees deeper into the woods with his sister Liza. They decide their best course of action (well, other than perhaps, you know, driving off with the police man’s car at least for a little bit!) is to split up and get back together later. Addison, we find, is very protective of his little sister and she is a little…strange. Because she is an unknown in whatever heist they just pulled off, Addison reasons this is why it is a good idea for them to split. If he’s caught, he’s caught. If she is found, there is no way to link her to the crime they just committed.
The movie segues into introducing other characters, from an elderly couple (Kris Kristofferson and Susan Spacek) to their just released from prison son as well as the Sheriff of the County and his daughter. Both sets of parents have issues with their kids and, as the movie progresses, the characters and their fates intertwine.
I won’t go into more story detail but suffice to say that while this film features a good cast, great locations, and some excellent cinematography (there’s something, to me, magical about films set featuring a very snowy tableau), the film’s plot, unfortunately, bogs down rather quickly. Too much information is presented in too little time, though I would quickly hasten to add that the story presented might have benefited from being pared down of at least two of the characters (the Sheriff and his daughter, alas, serve no great purpose in the film, even if veteran actor Treat Williams is quite good as the intolerant and over-protective Sheriff).
In the end, the ingredients are there for at least a reasonably good suspense film, but the execution and too many ingredients (ie extra storylines) ultimately diffuse whatever steam this film tries to build.
While the film had a limited theatrical release, based on the very bland trailer presented below, I have a suspicion the studios knew the film wouldn’t do too well and didn’t really give it a great push.