Re-Watching: Deadfall

Deadfall is a neo-noir from director Stefan Ruzowitzky and written by Zach Dean, but the real story here is the amazing cast! We have Eric Bana as a casino robber with a violent streak. Olivia Wilde as Bana’s little sister and has a bit of a strange relationship with her brother. Charlie Hunnam is a man recently released from prison for fixing a fight and happened to win the silver medal in the Olympics. Kate Mara plays a police officer with F.B.I. ambitions. We also get veteran actors Treat Williams as Mara’s father and the local sheriff and Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek as the farming parents of Hunnam.

This story starts out like a car crash, literally! Bana and Wilde are counting money while they are being driven in a limo. The limo hits a deer on a snow-covered road and goes rolling down a bank. The police officer responds and Bana kills him. Bana and Wilde split up in this winter wonderland as the police are unaware of Wilde’s involvement in a casino robbery. Bana goes on a wild winter survival adventure across the frozen land. Hunnam, who was just released from prison, goes to his boxing manager’s gym, as he was the one that had him throw a fight. this is what caused him to go to prison. The two get in a fight and the manager ends up dead. Hunnam is on the run, he does not want to go back to jail. He heads to his parents for Thanksgiving and on the way picks up an almost frozen Wilde. The story builds to a violent and unhappy ending.

The selling point of this film in my opinion is the great cast. Though Spacek and Kristofferson do not have big roles and this shows nothing new from them, they are still great as an All-American couple. Wilde is very good as our femme fatale with second thoughts. Hunnam plays a every man with bad luck very well. Bana plays a psychopath, but doesn’t go over the top with his performance. The story is complex and comes together fairly well, making it interesting. I will say there is something a bit off about this film. but I can not put my finger on it. This is an average film that is missing something that could have made it a great film. Neo-noir fans will find it an enjoyable watch, and if you are a fan of some of the cast it will be worth your time.

Re-watching: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead is a neo noir from 1995.  1995 was a pretty good year for neo noir films with The Usual Suspects, Se7en, Heat and Casino just to name a few!  That maybe why this film gets lost in the shuffle of great noir films from that year.  No, it isn’t as good as those I’ve mentioned but it is a damn good movie.

The film is directed by Gary Fleder and written by Scott Rosenberg with our top billed star being Andy Garcia.  This cast is full of great performers through out.  See if you can spot Don Cheadle, Jenny McCarthy and Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister in some of the smaller roles.

This story starts with a guy jumping a fence to get into a school playground to try to steal a little girl and gets caught.  His father, a kingpin of sorts named “The Man With The Plan” is played by Christopher Walken.  He tells Garcia how his son was in love with a girl in high school and college and that girl left him for another man and moved to California.  This girl’s new boyfriend is on his way back to Denver to ask her parents permission to marry her.  This will push Walken’s son over the edge.  He hires Garcia to take care of this.  Garcia then gets his old team back together for one last easy payoff.  The gang consists of Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, and Treat Williams.  The job goes horribly wrong when things get out of hand and they kill the boyfriend, then the girlfriend gets out of the van and they kill her too.  Now they are in trouble because they have killed The Man With The Plan’s only hope for his son’s future happiness and normality.  Steve Buscemi is the hit-man hired to kill our team.  Gabrielle Anwar plays Garcia’s romantic interest.  Garcia is running all over Denver trying to get his team out-of-town and spend as much time with Anwar before he has to leave town himself.  Will our team get out alive?  Will Garcia save his team and sacrifice himself?  Will he be able to talk Anwar into going with him?

This cast of characters are a blast to watch and all have their unique weaknesses.  The slang in this movie is fun and original, who doesn’t want to use terms like Boat Drinks and Buckwheats. Our gangsters handshake is interesting and has a cool story behind it, we find this out from our old-timer gangster, played by Jack Warden, who pops up from time to time telling the tourists about the good old days.

If all this sounds amazing to you, you should check out this film right away.  It is a very good neo noir that may be overshadowed by some of the best movies of all-time that came out in the same year.  That doesn’t mean this isn’t worth watching too.  For all fans of noir looking for something to watch, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead maybe what you are looking for.