With a focus on messy family relationships, this thriller's deranged comical touches almost make up for its contrived plot and annoyingly thin characters. Director Ruzowitzky (an Oscar winner for The Counterfeiters) makes the most of the snowy landscapes and an eclectic cast, but the jarring combination of grisly violence, black humour, romance and drama never quite comes together.
In a northern Michigan blizzard, Addison (Bana) is on the run with his sister Liza (Wilde) after a casino heist. When their car crashes in the snow, they decide to head for the Canadian border separately. Liza is picked up off the road by Jay (Hunnam), a hunky ex-con boxer who's stopping to see his parents his parents (Spacek and Kristofferson) while running from the cops himself. Addison encounters a variety of local characters himself as he tries to catch up with Liza. And the local sheriff (Williams) relentlessly picks on deputy Hanna (Mara), his daughter, as they track the fugitives through the snow.
Every relationship in this film is deeply dysfunctional, and the actors have a great time playing with the soapy wrinkles. Bana and Wilde play up the creepy innuendo between the siblings, while the contrived romance between Wilde and Hunnam is like the set-up for a porn movie. Meanwhile, Mara's ambitious cop is so belittled by her awful dad and his equally sexist deputies that we don't really mind it when they start dying one by one in their encounters with Addison. And holding everything together is the wonderfully level-headed Spacek, who carries on cooking dinner while her husband goes out to shoot a deer, then cheerfully serves pie even with a shotgun levelled at her head.
Ruzowitzky maintains a sharp visual style that focusses on these disparate, desperate characters and makes the most of the icy landscape, which of course sets off the splashes of blood rather strikingly. He finds strong tension and sparky interaction in every scene, plus some terrific action sequences. But the emotions never ring true, simply because it's all so ridiculously contrived. Even so, watching this as a black comedy turns it into a guilty pleasure movie, complete with one of the nuttiest Thanksgiving dinners ever put on film.
Run time: 95 mins
In Theaters: Friday 9th November 2012
Box Office USA: $65.8k
Box Office Worldwide: $597.1 thousand
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
Production compaines: Magnolia Pictures, StudioCanal, Madhouse Entertainment, 2929 Productions, Mutual Film Company
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 52
IMDB: 6.3 / 10
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Screenwriter: Zach Dean
Starring: Eric Bana as Addison, Olivia Wilde as Liza, Charlie Hunnam as Jay, Patrick Kerton as State trooper, Kris Kristofferson as Chet, Sissy Spacek as June, Treat Williams as Becker, Jason Cavalier as Travis, Allison Graham as Mandy, Kate Mara as Hanna, Alain Goulem as Bobby, Kwasi Songui as Corrections Officer, John Robinson as Ronnie, Job Daniel as Young Boxer, Jocelyne Zucco as Doris, Maxime Savaria as Deputy Brice, Kyle Gatehouse as Deputy Bill, Tom Jackson as Old Indian Hunter, Tomomi Morimoto as Suki, Nobuya Shimamoto as Hiro, Cheryl Diabo as Ottawa Indian Mother, André Kasper Kolstad as Ottawa Indian Child, Anie Pascale as Tricia, Andrew Johnston as Marvin, Sarah Booth as Amy, Teale Hansen as Lisa, Victor Cornfoot as Snowplow Driver, Warona Setshwaelo as Female Paramedic, Teale Bishopric as Lisa, Catherine Colvey as Vicky Wienrick, Dennis Lafond as Theo, Kevin Desfosses as State Trooper (uncredited), David Goff as Harold (uncredited), Benoit Priest as Stund (uncredited)
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