DVD/Stream of the Week: DEADFALL – dysfunctional families converge just in time for Thanksgiving

Charlie Hunnam and Olivia Wilde in DEADFALL
Charlie Hunnam and Olivia Wilde in DEADFALL

Deadfall is a solid recent thriller that has flown flew under the radar. Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are brother and sister running for the Canadian border after a casino heist. They wreck their car and split up. The brother sets off overland, leaving a trail of murderous carnage. The local cops are on the alert, including the sheriff’s deputy daughter (Kate Mara). Meanwhile, a bad luck boxer (Charlie Hannum of Sons of Anarchy and The Lost City of Z) is released from prison, impulsively commits another crime and is headed for his parents’ (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson) remote northern cabin. The sister hitches a ride with the boxer. Everybody converges at the boxer’s parents’ place for an extremely stressful Thanksgiving dinner.

An essential element of this thriller is that all of the families are dysfunctional. The siblings have survived a hellish upbringing, from which the older brother has rescued his little sister; unfortunately, he has emerged as a psychopath himself and has infantilized the sister. The relationship between the boxer and his father has been poisoned by a long-festering dispute. The sheriff resents and belittles his bright and highly professional daughter while doting on her idiot brothers.

The core of the movie is the evolving relationship between Wilde’s sister and Hunnam’s boxer. Neither knows that the other is on the lam. She cynically seduces him because he is useful. But then she starts to fall for him, and, by Thanksgiving dinner, her loyalties are uncertain.

Sissy Spacek is brilliant as the boxer’s mom, who must steer over the wreckage of the relationship between her son and her husband, and who must then serve a Thanksgiving dinner to a volatile killer who is holding a shotgun on the other guests. She is a great actor, and she’s as good here as in any of her signature performances.

The cinematography, characters, acting and the directorial choices by Stefan Ruzowitzky are excellent. What keeps Deadfall from being one of the year’s best is some trite, TV movie level dialogue along the way. Still, it’s a good watch. Deadfall is available to rent on DVD from Netflix and Redbox and can be streamed from Netflix Instant, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Note: This is NOT the 1993 Deadfall, with Nicholas Cage even more over-the-top than usual.

DVD of the Week: Deadfall

Deadfall is a solid thriller that flew under the radar during the holidays.  Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are brother and sister running for the Canadian border after a casino heist.  They wreck their car and split up.  The brother sets off overland, leaving a trail of murderous carnage.   The local cops are on the alert, including the sheriff’s deputy daughter (Kate Mara).   Meanwhile,  a bad luck boxer (Charlie Hannum of Sons of Anarchy) is released from prison, impulsively commits another crime and is headed for his parents’ (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson) remote northern cabin.  The sister hitches a ride with the boxer.  Everybody converges at the boxer’s parents’ place for an extremely stressful Thanksgiving dinner.

An essential element of this thriller is that all of the families are dysfunctional.   The siblings have survived a hellish upbringing, from which the older brother has rescued his little sister; unfortunately, he has emerged as a psychopath himself and has infantilized the sister.  The relationship between the boxer and his father has been poisoned by a long-festering dispute.  The sheriff resents and belittles his bright and highly professional daughter while doting on her idiot brothers.

The core of the movie is the evolving relationship between Wilde’s sister and Hunnam’s boxer.  Neither knows that the other is on the lam.  She cynically seduces him because he is useful.  But then she starts to fall for him, and, by Thanksgiving dinner, her loyalties are uncertain.

Sissy Spacek is brilliant as the boxer’s mom, who must steer over the wreckage of the relationship between her son and her husband, and who must then serve a Thanksgiving dinner to a volatile killer who is holding a shotgun on the other guests.  She is a great actor, and she’s as good here as in any of her signature performances.

The cinematography, characters, acting and the directorial choices by Stefan Ruzowitzky are excellent.  What keeps Deadfall from being one of the year’s best is some trite, TV movie level dialogue along the way.  Still, it’s a good watch.

Note: This is NOT the 1993 Deadfall, with Nicholas Cage even more over-the-top than usual.

Deadfall: Two killers, one shotgun and Thanksgiving dinner

Deadfall is a solid thriller that is flying under the radar this holiday season.  Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are brother and sister running for the Canadian border after a casino heist.  They wreck their car and split up.  The brother sets off overland, leaving a trail of murderous carnage.   The local cops are on the alert, including the sheriff’s deputy daughter (Kate Mara).   Meanwhile,  a bad luck boxer (Charlie Hannum of Sons of Anarchy) is released from prison, impulsively commits another crime and is headed for his parents’ (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson) remote northern cabin.  The sister hitches a ride with the boxer.  Everybody converges at the boxer’s parents’ place for an extremely stressful Thanksgiving dinner.

An essential element of this thriller is that all of the families are dysfunctional.   The siblings have survived a hellish upbringing, from which the older brother has rescued his little sister; unfortunately, he has emerged as a psychopath himself and has infantilized the sister.  The relationship between the boxer and his father has been poisoned by a long-festering dispute.  The sheriff resents and belittles his bright and highly professional daughter while doting on her idiot brothers.

The core of the movie is the evolving relationship between Wilde’s sister and Hunnam’s boxer.  Neither knows that the other is on the lam.  She cynically seduces him because he is useful.  But then she starts to fall for him, and, by Thanksgiving dinner, her loyalties are uncertain.

Sissy Spacek is brilliant as the boxer’s mom, who must steer over the wreckage of the relationship between her son and her husband, and who must then serve a Thanksgiving dinner to a volatile killer who is holding a shotgun on the other guests.  She is a great actor, and she’s as good here as in any of her signature performances.

The cinematography, characters, acting and the directorial choices by Stefan Ruzowitzky are excellent.  What keeps Deadfall from being one of the year’s best is some trite, TV movie level dialogue along the way.  Still, it’s a good watch.

Note: This is NOT the 1993 Deadfall, with Nicholas Cage even more over-the-top than usual.

Hanna: girl power to the max

Here is a paranoid thrill ride starring Saoirse Ronan as a 16-year-old raised in the Arctic Circle to be a master assassin by her rogue secret agent father (Eric Bana), and then released upon the CIA.  She is matched up against special ops wiz Cate Blanchett.

The story relies on two novelties. First, a teenage girl is raised to speak 20 languages fluently and kill people with her hands.  Second,  the same teenage girl is raised to have no familiarity with electricity, music and other teens.  Because Ronan is perfect and the pacing flies along, sthe story works. Hanna is ably directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist).

New trailers for a low comedy and a paranoid thriller

Cedar Rapids is an “aim low” comedy about a lame guy (Ed Helm) whose life is so boring that an insurance agent conference in Cedar Rapids is a revelatory experience.   It’s got John C. Reilly as the Wild and Crazy Insurance Agent and is directed by Miguel Arteta, director of the underrated The Good Girl and Youth in Revolt.  Releases February 11.

Hanna is a paranoid thriller starring Saoirse Ronan as a 16-year-old raised in the Arctic Circle to be a master assassin by her rogue secret agent father (Eric Bana), and then released upon the CIA.  She is matched up against special ops wiz Cate Blanchett.  Hanna is directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist).   Releases April 8.

Read about more upcoming movies and see more trailers at Movies I’m Looking Forward To.