Review: 'Deadfall' Is Held Together By Nothing But Violence

Mere minutes into "Deadfall," you can tell it means business. A burglary, a car crash, shots fired, dollars flying through the air, images in rapid succession meant to pique one's interest. Who are these people? What happened? Where do we go from here? That's "Deadfall" for you, one big question. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the answer is pretty stupid, and really not worth pursuing. Sometimes, when you ask question after question, you just end up sounding like a rube.

The main problem is that the only cohesion in the entire film is violence. Which works for a story like "Pulp Fiction," but not so much for a movie like "Deadfall". But let's make an honest effort to untangle the mess, if only because one day we might get quizzed on the topic. There's a rigged boxing match, numerous hostage situations, a casino heist, and an aggressively sexist sheriff's department.

An entire sex scene is considered, a voyeuristic mess from start to finish, foreplay to, well, you get the idea. There's the subtle hint of incest that wafts throughout the proceedings. There's an alcoholic stepdad who beats his wife, and a Native American chief who strangely always expects an ambush. Coincidences abound throughout that place the main characters in pressure-packed situations, only the pressure is massively forced. All that, plus a snowmobile chase scene! Who doesn't love those?

Now then, if the preceding paragraph didn't make much sense to you, that's because it doesn't make much sense in the film either. The themes and scenes attempted here are enough for four movies, jumbled together to the point of incoherence. This is a love story with a bunch of bodies in-between. This is a tornado of cinema, as four main plot points are followed, and at times around one and a half of them are working, though it alternates, which doesn't lead to much in the way of momentum.

Still, the cast is at least impressive, and if you're an Eric Bana completest this will naturally be a must. He speaks in an extremely odd accent throughout the film, thought it's hard to determine if it really works or is completely awful. Definitely one of the two. Olivia Wilde also does real work here, as does Kate Mara. sadly, no actors could have redeemed this film, the words they were given were too silly, the scenes they were put in were too small. A nihilistic sense of dread pervades, as if the characters were marbles and the director wanted to see what happened when he bounced them all together.

In the end this is all too much to handle, like a first date that asks you what color you want the wedding flower arrangements to be. If any of the motivations added up, or if any of the scenes wouldn't have been completely overplayed, this might have been a real movie. As it stands, it's more of an idea, and that idea is a big ol' kitchen sink. There's a lot of dirty dishes in there, so if you're going to attempt to watch this one, you'd better get to work.

Grade: D-