After a good March and April - Arbitrage, Side Effects, Trance, The Place Beyond the Pines - May has started off as a stinker of a month for thriller fans. Last week we had Colin Farrell and a great supporting cast wasting their (and our) time in Dead Man Down (aka Donnie Fiasco); this week it's the turn of Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek and Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters) to smudge the CV with this They Live By Night-meets-Western showdown in the snow.
Bana and Wilde play siblings on the run in rural Michigan with plans to make it over the Canadian border. Hunnam is the just-out-of-jail Beijing silver medal-winning boxer who's in trouble again and looking for refuge back home on the farm with parents Spacek and Kristofferson. Williams and Mara are the father-daughter sheriff and deputy on the hunt for Bana and Wilde's characters. There's lots of brother-sister and parent-child tension; it's Thanksgiving and the turkey is in the oven.
Ten minutes into Deadfall you can figure out who's going to shoot who and how it's all going to end, with the trudge to the sloppy finale made worse by corniness, tedious back and forth and an inability to make the most of the talent assembled. You cast Spacek, Kristofferson and Williams and then give them bit parts?!
There's a love story that's unconvincing; a character whose ability to keep going despite the weather and injuries suggests he'll be head-hunted by The X-Men and a femme fatale who manages to tromp around in the snow for a bit in a mini without succumbing to hypothermia, messing up her make-up or getting a ladder in her tights.
The action scenes are ok, but the home cooking looks great - you'll need a feed yourself afterwards to get the taste of disappointment out of your mouth.
"This is kind of like an old movie, don't you think?" purrs Wilde around halfway through. Yes, a bad one.