2012 may not see the end of the world as we know it as the Mayan’s had predicted but it might very well see the beginning of the end of the traditional theatrical release model for most films. Recently, Hollywood has been embracing the new V.O.D. Release model more than ever before. Dozens of movies were first available on V.O.D. in 2012 before eventually making their way to the big screen in select cities.
Back in the old days if a film wasn’t expected to do well it was given a limited release; then if it defied expectations it would expand further. Now, we put those potential disasters on V.O.D. and hope for the best. It’s by no means a proven method yet, but Hollywood loves trends and for now, this is it.
When I saw that a movie starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson was being released this way I thought they had gone too far. The trailer made the film look like a nail biting thriller set in a bone chilling location with a killer cast! So why not just release it like a regular movie?
The answer is that Deadfall falls short of being the gripping theatrical engagement that audiences would have been expecting. There’s nothing “wrong” with the film per se, it just lacks the overall impact that most films reach. It would certainly be the Best ‘Movie of the Week’ ever made, but it’s not a strong theatrical piece.
Bana and Wilde play an emotionally bizarre brother / sister duo who have just robbed a casino and are caught in a massive blizzard as they separately attempt to make their escape. A gorgeously clean shaven Hunnam is a recently released prisoner who is on his way home for Thanksgiving with his family when he encounters this beautiful freezing woman desperately in need of his help.
Sparks fly when Hunnam and Wilde end up impersonating a married couple at a dive bar where they have taken shelter to wait out the storm, and conversely, bullets fly as Bana trudges through the icy conditions battling the local Sheriff’s department.
Everyone is running from something, be it physical or emotional in this film, and it all comes to a head at the Thanksgiving table of our hero’s parents.
The various interpersonal relationships between the characters are by far and away this films greatest strength. Examining the psychology behind the insinuated incestuous sibling relationship between Addison (Bana) and Liza (Wilde) is fascinating, the misogynistic Sheriff’s (Treat Williams) treatment of his deputy daughter, Hana (Kate Mara) begs more than a few interesting questions and of course Jay’s (Charlie Hunnam) estranged relationship with his parents June (Sissy Spacek) and Chet (Kris Kristofferson) as well as his own feelings of failure and regret are all beautifully played out and leave room for audience interpretation and debate.
The action sequences are well executed and the setting is breath taking. I would never want to actually find myself in similar frozen tundra like conditions, but watching it from the comfort of a warm room made it lovely to look at.
So again, there’s nothing “wrong” with this movie. I’d definitely recommend it for people who enjoy thoughtful explorations of human interactions but I’d caution people against setting their expectations too high.
Deadfall is an enjoyable journey with a fantastically talented cast that overall simply lacks that knock-out punch feeling that you might be expecting.
A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family’s Thanksgiving celebration.