Deadfall [Blu-Ray] Stefan Ruzowitzky

Deadfall [Blu-Ray] Stefan Ruzowitzky
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In the brief interview supplement included with the Deadfall Blu-Ray, director Stefan Ruzowitzky discusses making a movie that vacillates between accessible genre piece and oblique art film. He's vague about the subtext, commenting mostly on the mirrored nature of the dysfunctional family throughout the three stories presented, but notes how the lower budget and lack of vested external interest allowed him to push certain topics further than he might have been allowed with a studio movie. In essence, this modern day western follows Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) — siblings on the run after robbing a native casino just before Thanksgiving. Separating after a car accident leaves them stranded in a rural winter environment, they embark upon separate journeys across the frigid American landscape, taking what they need and using who they can to reunite and continue their quest. Liza employs her sexuality and ability to manipulate, and acquiesce to, men to survive. Encountering the recently paroled Jay (Charlie Hunnam), she convinces him to bring her home to his parents, June (Sissy Spacek) and Chet (Kris Kristofferson), for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Addison kills anyone that stands in his way, even murdering an abusive stepfather in an effort to protect a young girl, while making his way back to his sister, with whom he has unwholesome sexual chemistry. The fact that it's Thanksgiving weekend and that they've robbed an Indian casino isn't just a coincidence. Just as June and Chet's seemingly idyllic life in a warm, rural farmhouse represents the apple-pie nature of the American dream, a history of violence, greed and theft taints and violates it all. Estranged from their son after a boxing conspiracy left him implicated for throwing a fight, even their living ideal is sullied, with conflict and imbalance permeating every household and life encountered in the film. Similarly, the history of male superiority and domination is examined through Addison's stranglehold over his passive sister, as well as the relationship between local police officer Hanna (Kate Mara) and her sexist, oppressive father (Treat Williams). Because Deadfall is filled with a very detailed list of the many flaws and contradictions within the American ethos, some of the handling of the superficial story elements is rather clumsy. The gender imbalance established between Hanna and her father involves an unlikely comment about her having to change a tampon during a police investigation. Still, these early stumbles in establishing the characters and their dynamics are quickly replaced with a thematically cohesive and remarkably cerebral story that works as a defeatist, but not entirely pessimistic, look at a nation that may never be able to escape its history. (eOne)