What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Deadfall is a thriller with some strong violence and sexual situations. Though it's set over the Thanksgiving holiday, it isn't family-friendly entertainment: Many characters are morally ambiguous, and the story deals with troubled family relationships. The main female character has sex twice and is briefly seen topless, and there are some bloody killings/injuries, guns and shootings, stabbings, and severed fingers. Language is strong and includes several uses of "f--k" and "s--t" throughout. There's some background drinking and smoking, and one character is shown to be a mean, intimidating drunk.
What's the story?
Brother-and-sister team Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) are on the run from a successful casino heist, driving through a snowstorm. When their car crashes and Addison murders a highway patrolman, they're forced to make a run for it through the freezing woods. Liza meets an ex-boxer, Jay (Charlie Hunnam), who's just served a prison sentence for killing a man in the ring, and tries to get herself invited home for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Addison gets into further trouble, which results in further violence. With a scrappy young cop (Kate Mara) on their trail, what deadly fate awaits when this motley crew finally assembles for dinner at the home of Jay's parents (Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson)?
Is it any good?
It's somewhat of a surprise that DEADFALL is such a good, strong, compact pulp thriller. Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky won an Oscar for his overrated WWII movie The Counterfeiters and was responsible for another, very bad one, All the Queen's Men. But Ruzowitzky's filmmaking is much clearer and more confident in this terrain, using the snow and cold for maximum effect, both in separating characters and bringing them closer together.
The ensemble cast is well balanced, and the complex, nuanced relationships between families build many fascinating layers. In fact, certain plot threads -- such as Jay's accidental murder victim -- are all but dropped in favor of further character development, which is actually refreshing. Addison's extreme brutality makes the mix a bit too top heavy at times, but his early moments with Liza also go a long way in establishing his place. It's this excellent character balance that makes Deadfall so compelling.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Deadfall's violence. How does its impact compare to what you've seen in other action/thriller movies? Does it seem over-the-top?
What are the dynamics like in the various families shown in this story? Are any of them problem-free? Do any of them have similar problems?
What is the brother-sister relationship like between the main characters? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How well do they communicate?
How does the movie portray sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.