Deadfall (1993) (part 1 of 6)

SUMMARY: Michael Biehn is a young con artist drawn into a web of deceit and old family secrets. Then Nicolas Cage shows up and turns the movie into the most wonderful piece of strangeness I’ve ever seen.

Deadfall belongs to a category of films I like to call “2 AM movies”. These are generally low budget dramas, usually with a few name stars (or in this case, a lot of name stars), and a seedy, sordid plotline that takes every single film noir cliché in the book and uses it to the best of whatever meager abilities the filmmakers possessed. You tend to find these on the late night schedules of both HBO and Cinemax, as well as in the late night and weekend afternoon rotations on local broadcast stations.

However, a few things set this particular film apart from its low budget brethren. First off, it comes from a rather high pedigree, due to the involvement of some top-shelf actors, including James Coburn and Nicolas Cage, with Charlie Sheen and Peter Fonda in small cameos.

Adding to this is how the movie has the highest Coppola to non-Coppola ratio seen since the Godfather films, with the presence of director Christopher Coppola (Francis Ford’s nephew), Talia Shire (Francis’s sister and Christopher’s aunt), Nicolas Cage (Christopher’s brother), and Marc Coppola (Chris and Nicolas’s brother). Deadfall proves why sometimes it’s best for showbiz families to stay the hell away from each other when it comes to actually making movies.

Put simply, if the Godfather films showed nepotism at its finest*, this film shows it at its worst. Deadfall is a perfect storm of bat-shit insanity, and one of my all time favorite bad movies. Let’s check it out.

[*Sofia Coppola notwithstanding.]

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Deadfall (1993)

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