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Deadfall

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The Hulk needed have gone so big in previous efforts.

Eric Bana’s made a name for himself stateside thanks to roles in big, splashy blockbuster fare like ”Hulk”, ”Black Hawk Down”, ”Troy” and “Star Trek”, but if 2010’s “Funny People”, last year’s revenge thriller ”Hanna”, and now ”Deadfall”, prove anything it’s that the Aussie thesp is much better off doing more intimate, performance-driven flicks. It may not be where the money is, but in his Bana’s case, his career might be elongated if he starts chasing more of these character-driven flicks that are devoid of effect and lacking in infinitely choreographed stunt sequences.

Bana is terrific as an unstable crook in the Stefan Ruzowitzky-directed Canadian thriller, which boasts a terrific ensemble including Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam and Kate Mara, and tells of siblings (Bana, Wilde) who are involved in a botched casino heist and reunite at one family’s thanksgiving dinner – much to the dismay of the scared-stiff homeowners (Spacek, Kristofferson).

As trigger-happy Adison, a sinister rogue that finds himself lost in the woods (after he and his sister crash their loot-filled car) ultimately making his way to the home of an abused mother ad her kids, before moving on to another house for the final, bloody conclusion, Bana offers up an understated, welcomingly unsettling performance, the likes of which were not used to seeing from the actor – whose usually playing second fiddle to an explosion or gun battle (Not to say director Ruzowitsky’s thriller doesn’t encompass a couple of good explosions and the odd gun fight. Being a crime thriller, it’d be, erm, a crime if some shots weren’t sounded off within the film’s relatively squat 95 minutes. Thankfully, the skirmishes and stunts never overshadow the substance within.)

The film takes a cue from the many umpteen interweaving character movies we’ve seen over the years – like “Pulp Fiction” or “Go!” – and sees a bunch of strangers, also including Hunnamn’s paroled crook, Treat William’s veteran sheriff, and Kate Mara’s gunshy tyro cop, all colliding by the film’s final reel.

Best thing about the film, besides the performances of the cast (Olivia Wilde is terrific as Bana’s slightly-more grounded on- screen sister Liza, with “Sons of Anarchy” star Hunnam her love interest, also good), is Zach Dean’s surprising script. There’s no redemption for some of the characters, no ‘tie it all up in a ribbon’ ending, and in the case of Bana’s character, no redeeming qualities (though he does shoot the man who abuses the aforementioned family dead) he’s simply a screwed-up thug.

It won’t do much at the box-office, and its not in the realm of a Fincher or De Palma thriller, but “Deadfall” hulks most of what Bana’s done in recent years.

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About Caffeinated Clint

Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

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