Tribeca Film Festival 2012 (Day 4): “Deadfall” and “2 Days in New York”

My last day attending screenings at Tribeca was very interesting indeed. I decided to skip Free Samples, a mumblecore-type movie with Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Ritter on my Tribeca list, after I hearing some not some good things in title of reviews (I try not to read them in fear it would affect my opinion). Instead, I “rushed” for a showing of Deadfall, a thriller starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde, which I read better things about. Was that a mistake? I’m not sure yet but read my thoughts on the fill below. Later that evening, I attended a special screening of 2 Days in New York, the followup to the 2007 film 2 Days in Paris. The writer/director/star Julie Delpy was in attendance as well as Chris Rock who also stars. Their after-film panel was great; I’m so glad that I finally got an opportunity to hear Julie Delpy, someone who is really well known in the independent film world, talk about her process.

Deadfall: I originally passed on this movie about a killer/robber Addison (Eric Bana) and his femme-fatale sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) who, after a casino robbery, split up to make a desperate dash in the cold northern US to the Canadian border. I think I did because I was afraid it was would be a run of the mill B-movie thriller with no grand standout moments. I was mostly right though the film did have some enjoyable moments to like. (SPOILERS) In the moment, we find the two main leads in a car accident that kills their partner-in-crime and getaway driver as well as any hopes of having a clean getaway. It appears to be the dead of winter, and to have the best chance of reaching the border, split the money and make plans to meet up after they have found means to get to Canada. Each experience things in their time apart that changes them. In the case of Addison, for the worst (he steals, kills, and loses a finger, people!) but for Liza it was maybe for the best (she flirts, seduces, and ultimately chooses to live a different kind of life). All in all, Bana says all the right crazy things and makes all the right irrational moves, but like his Alabama accent, it’s not totally believable. Wilde flaunted her sex appeal at all the right moments but her character didn’t have the emotional depth that would believe her change for the better in such a short time. What I did like about the film was the very sympathetic and misunderstood ex-boxer, ex-con Jay (Charlie Hunnam) who by coincidence, get pulled into the lives of the two crooks on the run due to his weakness for Liza. For me, Hunnam carries the film, first playing lover and friend to Wilde’s character, then the direct opposition to Addison, and finally savior to his parents who are taken hostage at the end of the film in a standoff the leaves Addison dead at the hands of his sister. The film did have some great cringeworthy moments needed for any good thriller and a very heavy brother-sister relationship that bordered on incest that I wished would have been explored more to give the film more complexity. My Grade: B-

2 Days in New York: I love Julie Delpy, mostly because she has given me (with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater) two of my favorite movies of all time - Before Sunrise and Before Sunset - and my favorite on-screen couple. Because of this, I usually follow Delpy’s film projects closely. 2 Days in New York finds Marion (Delpy) broken up from Jack (Adam Goldberg), her funny, fast-talking boyfriend in the first film 2 Days in Paris and father of her son Lulu, and now in a relationship with the supportive and mild-mannered Mingus (Rock). When her father from Paris come into town, we witness the clash of cultures (French vs. American vs. American minority) and plain ol’ human decency. (SPOILERS) The movie swings from one wild moment to the other, much like its film predecessor - the hilarity that ensures from language barriers, the cat fights between Marion and her slutty sister (in French no less), the lack of boundaries of Marion’s family, Mingus conversations with a cardboard cut out of Obama -  all framed as a story we discover Marion is telling her daughter, with the aid of puppets, on how she came into the world. The film does to me often rely too heavily on culture stereotypes for its laughs, and as in the past, I didn’t find Rock completely comfortable with scripted comedy. However, this is a worthy entry in the 2 Days series (can I call it that now?). My Grade: B-

Thank you goes out to the shorts filmmaker I met on the street who gave me his ticket; I got to sit in filmmaker’s row for the film screening which only amplified my experience! 

Check out the teaser trailer for this film below:

Post-Tribeca To Do List (continued):
6. Stop watching Eric Bana movies until he proves he can repeat his Munich performance
7. Watch out for more great roles from Charlie Hunnam
8. Brainstorm ways to make Julie Delpy my new best friend