Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Deadfall Movie Poster Image
Violent Thanksgiving-set thriller isn't family friendly.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Many characters are morally ambiguous, and the story deals with troubled family relationships. But a character gets out from under the influence of her bad-news brother and learns that she might be capable of -- and deserve -- a more positive and hopeful life. A few moments of families taking care of one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, a robber, is mostly terrible, though he does try to help out a family in need in his own way. And his sister comes to realize that she might be worth more than she thought. Characters in smaller roles are generally kind and helpful, even if they have their assorted flaws, problems, and bad luck.


The main character is a bank robber who kills at least three people over the course of the movie. Another of the major characters accidentally kills a man during a fight. A character dies in a car crash. Guns are fired. People are stabbed. Some blood is shown. There's a fight that results in fingers being chopped off; the victim cauterizes the wound on a hot snowmobile engine. A man's neck is sliced on a barbed-wire fence.


The main female character has sex twice with a man she has just met. During the second scene, she's briefly shown topless. The man's naked bottom is shown.


"F--k" and "s--t" are used several times, as are "a--hole," "hell," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A minor character is shown to be a mean drunk, frightening his wife and stepchildren. The main character takes a few swigs from bottles of booze. Main characters occasionally smoke cigarettes. Other characters drink socially in a bar.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove December 26, 2012

Not my cup of tea...

I didn't enjoy this film very much at all, which was a letdown because I was really looking forward to it as I love thrillers, just not this type. It start... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBeatricewilde_butter January 13, 2018

Strong Themes of Self worth and acceptance run throughout this action packed survival story, a classic.

This movie was much better than expected. Its about the ambiguity of relationships. It is also about self worth and accepting that you have potential. It is act... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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