Extra Deadfall

Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are a shifty brother and sister crime duo in this patchy thriller.

Released in cinemas 10th May 2013.

This frosty noir wants to be filed alongside the likes of Fargo, but exudes too much b-movie trash to be taken seriously. Acclaimed Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Inheritors, Anatomy) won an Oscar for The Counterfeiters in 2008, but hits a dud note with this occasionally laughable thriller.

Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are shifty brother and sister crime duo Addison and Liza, forced to split up when their car dramatically crashes following a casino heist. Stranded in a snowy rural town near the Canadian border, they divide the money and separate, each using their particular set of skills to get by. Ruzowitzky milks the fact that Liza is dolled up with lingering shots of red lipstick and stockings like something out of a slick '80s music video. Her feminine wiles are put to good use when Charlie Hunnam's disgraced Olympic boxer Jay returns home for Thanksgiving after a spell in prison, and the two forge a bond when the town is snowed in, with tedious flirtations in dive bars. The femme fatale thing was done to better effect in recent years with John Dahl's sublime and underrated The Last Seduction (1994). Here it's just one tacky aspect of a cluttered film, all over the place in tone.

Her brother's skills are somewhat different. Bana broke out in film with his unforgettable portrayal of a jokey psychopath in Chopper, and brings some of that to his sociapathic, incestuous Addison, who slaughters his way through the woods. An ugly character, Bana struggles to make him either menacing or charismatic thanks to the terrible script. Meanwhile, a Kate Mara's green young sheriff Hanna is fighting law enforcement sexism, with her own boss (and father) the ringleader, while tracking down the missing fugitives.

While Bana and Wilde play up their clich├ęd characters to fun effect at time, Hunnam seems to be in a different film, playing it with deadly serious intensity. If Jay was the emphasis of the film, it might work, as the family he is reluctantly working his way back to are a decent bunch, with Sissy Spacek's no-nonsense, dignified mother and Kris Kristofferson's huntin' and fishin' pop. Instead, Hunnam and Wilde are subjected to soft-focus, cheesy sex scenes (there may have been a saxophone playing, or I just imagined it).

A nicely demented showdown over turkey and apple pie is ruined by the fact that every single moment in the film can be predicted a couple of scenes back, making for a tiresome, rote, by-the-numbers genre piece. Mara, Hunnam and Spacek give weight to a film that is derailed by the direction given to its villains.

Rating: 4/10

Tags: Extra

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