8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
TWISTED CONUNDRUMS -- & ONE MESSED UP THANKSGIVING, 17 Feb. 2013
4 1/2 STARS FOR A FANTASTIC THRILLER WITH REALISTIC ACTION AND BROKEN PEOPLE. Few characters in this movie are perfect, if any.
I was really impressed by this gem of a movie and had a hunch it was done on a limited budget, despite the quality and effort clearly put into it. So I did some research. It was shot on $12M. That seemed like a fair sum to me at first (though not huge obviously) so I was a little surprised. Then I thought again - Many stars in this film have probably commanded $12M on their own for just one picture. Clearly this was a labor of love by people who thought it should be made.
Seriously- Olivia Wilde - Kate Mara - Eric Bana - Sissy Spacek - Kris Kristofferson and others.
PLOT: A brother and sister (from a broken home in the south we learn) have just robbed an Indian Casino not far from the Canadian border. The movie opens after the event of the robbery as the fugitives travel down an icy rural highway in the dead of winter. They are trying to evade the law. Their car skids and crashes and their plight becomes a matter of survival, both for them and the people they encounter (the brother is a cold blooded killer). But that's just the beginning. It becomes apparent that something is seriously off with these two who are a little more than just brother and sister. Yeah, it's twisted. Several other families will become ensnared their troubles including a disgraced boxer and a local police cheif who's daughter struggles for his approval. For an action thriller, there are ALL KINDS of relationship dysfunction and depth of character. In lesser hands, this movie is the kind of thing that results in a complete cinematic disaster. However, terrific acting, direction and writing bring what would seem an unlikely series of events into a completely plausible and deftly executed wonder of a movie.
THE ACTION in this movie is really quite impressive - especially for a small budget. There is a snowmobile chase that is practically a dog fight - yet completely realistic and well orchestrated. No ridiculous stunts here, yet I honestly found my heart pounding just a little. Gun play is also very well done with enough bang, but no unrealistic shots to make one smirk. All the fights are gritty and well choreographed, including a knife fight that no one is coming out of without some blood loss.
Performances: Eric Bana leads the cast with a bearing of southern manners that allows for some comedic juxtaposition against the horror of the situation. It's done with a completely straight face and brilliant delivery that will make you laugh even though the situation is not cartoonish in any way. Very skillful device including the Thanksgiving dinner event. Make no mistake, Addison (Bana's character) is a remorseless killer. This doesn't mean he isn't capable of compassion or civility in his own broken way. Olivia Wilde can make you believe even her brother would desire her (as he does in this movie). Kate Mara has been around a while for a young actress, but really deserves all the top billing and success life can throw at her. Here she is perfect as the adorable little daddy's girl who can also perceive and control a situation when other's try to dismiss her. She is a policeman on her father's force looking for the killers.
I am not going to tell you this is the most perfect movie of all time. However, what they accomplished with so little is very unusual for an American movie. If the premise is interesting to you at all, do not miss this one.