Cold killings in a cold climate

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Entertainment,Movies,Kelly Jane Torrance

Everything turns out rather topsy-turvy in "Deadfall."

Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) look to be on their way to some sort of rendezvous when their driver, unsuccessfully navigating a blizzard, crashes their car. As a flurry of money sails through the air, it's clear they've done no good. But when Addison approaches the police officer with an earnest "Sir, I hope you can forgive me," and then shoots him, it's also clear Addison is no angel -- though he'll be mistaken for one. To his credit, this killer does seem to relish killing only those who really deserve death.

And though Jay (Charlie Hunnam) is released from jail, and later that very day slugs someone so hard the guy might be dead, he'll turn out to be the good guy in this strange holiday story. If you thought your Thanksgiving table was dysfunctional, you haven't seen "Deadfall."

On screen
'Deadfall'
2.5 out of 4 stars
Stars: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Rated: R for strong violence, language and sexuality
Running time: 95 minutes

It's one of the angriest holiday movies since "The Ref." But there aren't any jokes to lighten the mood here. This is a gruesome film, though it is lightened by the force of its talent. It's a good thing, too: Without the top-notch acting, "Deadfall" wouldn't be much more than a by-the-numbers thriller.

Two different criminals are on the run, and they're bound to end up at the same place: Chet (Kris Kristofferson) and June's (Sissy Spacek) Thanksgiving dinner. Jay needs a place to hide after pretty much immediately violating his parole. He's bringing Liza with him, though he has no idea she's a fellow felon. She and her brother have robbed a casino and plan to take the proceeds over the nearby Canadian border. He picked her up, freezing, on the side of the road, after Addison decided they've have a better chance of escape if they separated.

But Addison's no normal brother, and he doesn't plan to leave Liza behind -- even if she and Jay, two equally messed up kids, develop feelings for each other.

Yes, you can pretty much predict where they will go. And yet "Deadfall" is still worth watching. Addison is a rather more interesting villain than we're used to seeing these days, and Bana takes him out of caricature. Liza catches him looking while she examines a wound on her thigh. "It's OK to look," she says to her brother. "Shush," he replies. "Devil'll hear you." And yet he continues to look. Hunnam, from television's "Sons of Anarchy," is also engrossing, even if he is given lines like "I'm not going back to prison. I can't."

Stefan Ruzowitzky's 2007 film "The Counterfeiters" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. "Deadfall" isn't nearly so original. But perhaps Ruzowitzky will one day find his voice in England, and direct again a script he's written himself.

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Kelly Jane Torrance

Washington Examiner Movie Critic
The Washington Examiner