Saturday, 2 June 2012

Review - A Lonely Place to Die (2011 - Dir. Julian Gilbey)

Have a good look at the DVD cover. Consider the title. Okay, what's the film about? Climbing, obviously. A lady gets stuck up a mountain, without any hope of rescue and it's all really tense.

Nope. Another example of some quality misleading marketing (this seems to be becoming a regular occurrence - see The Raid review for more deceit). It has got a smidgen of climbing in it. And she does get stuck on a cliff. But A Lonely Place to Die is really a thriller about a kidnapping. In a similar vein to High Lane, the climbing action is soon dispensed with and it morphs into an altogether different film. (I think I'll have to watch a proper climbing film soon, but not the slightly whiffy Vertical Limit.)

Melissa George (Alias, Dark City) is on a climbing trip with some of her chums when they find a kidnappee. The rest of the film is spent trying to keep a safe distance from the slightly unhinged kidnappers. The film is set in Scotland, which makes the film visually quite pleasant, what with all the lovely views and the rather bizarre street festival where some red-painted ladies get their raspberry ripples out. This is supposed to be in Scotland, surely they would have some substantial wool cardies on and some quality technical wicking undergarments (undershirt, undergloves, underhats, underunderpants, the works).

My main problem with this film is Ed (Ed Speleers - Eragon). Initially, he cracks a very obvious poker gag and is generally obnoxious. But then... but then, he states that he doesn't like sandwiches! What kind of a sick pervert doesn't like sarnies?!? (Sorry. Severe punctuation overload. I was goaded though.) I was severely hoping that he'd get maimed or shot for this major misdemeanor. A kind lady has made him a lovely little picnic for his dinner and he starts moaning when he finds out that two slices of bread and a filling are involved. What was he expecting? A full Sunday dinner with all the trimmings? What other possible food substance can you have in a lunchbox? My only thought was... DIE!

Apart from Melissa George (who is just about passable) and Alec Newman, the acting is just one notch up from the soaps. Not Mary's dad standard in the slightest but when it's noticeable that someone is acting, something has gone awry. 

A Lonely Place to Die is a thriller but I was never really that thrilled. It was entertaining enough but I never felt any tension, just a feeling of preposterousness. Who are the two hunters at the start and what are they up to? Why do characters seem to appear for the sole purpose of being killed? Why does our heroine seek refuge in an occupied house when she is being chased by a shotgun wielding miscreant knowing full well what will happen? And why does that freak not like sarnies?!? (Let it lie... let it lie.)

From watching the Special Features it looks like they had a lot more fun making this film than I did watching it. (In truth, I enjoyed the extras a lot more than the actual film.) The director deserves some respect for getting Canon 5D footage into a fairly large feature film and any film containing a man wearing a pig mask can't be all bad.

If you like this you could also try:
High Lane, Kill List (it has a similar atmosphere in parts), Touching the Void.


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