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Deadfall

Familial dysfunctional lurks around every snowy corner in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s recipe for an overdetermined, undercooked thriller. Start with siblings Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde), whose abusive childhoods have left them incestuously close. Then, when a car crash following a casino heist strands them in a blizzard, make sure she falls into the rippling arms of a disgraced boxer (Charlie Hunnam)—who happens to be estranged from his retired-sheriff dad (Kris Kristofferson). The pugilist, meanwhile, is being tracked by an officer (Kate Mara); her own police-chief father (Treat Williams) regularly scolds her with sexist insults. And don’t let something as inconvenient as a howling storm keep Addison from stumbling onto a hunting cabin where an ogreish stepfather holds thrall, chasing his baby-toting wife out into the snow.

Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters) may be an occasionally interesting visual stylist, but storytelling-wise, his second English-language effort couldn’t be more stillborn. Bana and Wilde have equally slippery grasps on an Alabama accent, while Williams seems as if neither he nor his character has completely defrosted after coming in from the cold. That the characters will converge in a single, bloody set piece is foreordained, but it doesn’t feel like much of a culmination, since the movie’s theme hasn’t been developed so much as simply reiterated.

Follow Sam Adams on Twitter: @SamuelAAdams

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday December 7 2012
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Cast: Eric Bana
Olivia Wilde
Charlie Hunnam