AN ATTRACTIVE CAST, a tautly paced story and a vivid sense of place add up to curiously little in the thriller "Deadfall."
The chilly picture opens with a bloody shootout after a casino heist in northern Michigan, where bandits Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) split up with vague plans to reunite in Canada.
Their separate and eventful paths north form the crosscut plot. Liza hitches a ride with a fugitive (Charlie Hunnam) on his way to take refuge with his folks (Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek). Addison holes up in a hunting cabin.
Aussie director Stefan Ruzowitzky ("The Counterfeiters") pries open the coldly amoral surface of his on-the-lam characters to explore what is meant to be the more interesting spaces underneath - Liza's predatory interest in Hunnam's character evolves into real feeling, Addison turns his ruthless nature against the abusive husband/father who own the cabin, offering hints of a childhood that formed him as an amoral adult.
It all builds to a prolonged "Desperate Hours" hostage drama in a farmhouse, where a deputy (Kate Mara) and her domineering sheriff father (Treat Williams) also come into play.
The collision of plot and seething family dynamics are meant to amount to something tense and incendiary, but there is a puzzling flatness to the entire enterprise. I don't know that emotionally we really buy any of the family connections, so there is little at stake in the bloody finale.
We are left to admire the gorgeous cinematography, and wonder whether the persistent snowfall is real, or some digital marvel.