Strap on your harness for a British thrill ride that will leave you breathless.
Strap on your harness for a British thrill ride that
will leave you breathless.
Given their track
record of all things British Gangster you’d be forgiven for shying away from
the latest offering from the Gilbey
Brothers, Julian and Will.
However, unlike Rise Of The Foot
Soldier (2007) and Rollin’ With The
Nines (2006) A Lonely Place To Die ignores the obvious cashing in of Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
for a much more exciting and well thought-out thrill ride that rattles along at
a hell of a pace making for a nail biting running chase movie.
Out of a hiking
trip in the Scottish Highlands a group of five friends stumble across a
breathing pipe sticking out of the ground. Digging beneath the loose earth they discover a young,
possibly Croat, girl buried alive.
Realising she has been put there for a reason the group split up. Experienced climbers Alison (Melissa George) and Rob (Alec Newman) take the fast route of
scaling a sheer cliff face in the hope of alerting mountain rescue to pick-up
the others. Their friends, led by
maternal Jenny (Kate Magowan) and
complaining Ed (Ed Speleers), start
the long walk down the mountain to the nearest village. However, before long they all find
themselves being hunted by two ruthless killers who are determined to get the
young girl back for the ransom they think is coming to them.
Lonely Place does
not hang around, from its opening images of the vast, alienated landscape of
the Scottish mountains it is clear this is not a place to find yourself in
trouble. Early on it’s made clear
that a simply lapse in concentration on the perilous mountains can mean certain
death. Add to this the soaring
predatory eagle flying above our characters and the film creates enough
ambience and hints to make you take notice.
We’re given just
enough time to get to know the characters, as much as is necessary for a film
where action over plot or character arc is the priority, before we are thrown
into a blistering thrill ride.
Kind of like a British Cliffhanger
(1993) but with a darker, almost horror, tone to proceedings. When the action kicks in, and it does
pretty soon, we are treated to dizzying displays of climbing footage, the kind
that if you don’t already suffer from vertigo you soon will during the running
time. Director Julian Gilbey puts
us right there on the cliff face, looking down at the drop and ground below,
with the climbers. Just when you
think the worst has passed, like the climbers on the mountain, your complacency
will bite you.
Rarely do British
films shoot action in such a ferocious and visceral manner, but here it is
relentless. One minute a body
flies past the camera smashing into the jagged rocks below, the next we’re in a
run for your life foot chase, shot in close-ups but with wide lenses to take the
action to adrenaline pumped levels of terror. Just when you think the coast is clear a sniper scope frames
our heroes. It is the kind of ride
that you need to check your pulse before committing to because once you’re on
there’s no getting off.
Of course the
plot is fairly superfluous but the film is held together by a typically strong
performance from Melissa George.
By now she is something of a dab hand at all things scream-queen
related. Having cut her teeth the
normal Australian way, on soap Home and Away, before moving onto the likes of The Amityville Horror (2005) and 30 Days Of Night (2007), she is given
rein to play Alison with more fight and gumption than we’re used to
seeing. Indeed when the action
takes a slightly less satisfying turn towards the end, resorting to a chase
through a small Scottish town rather than the deadly highlands, it is her grit
and determination that keep you so invested.
and enough stunning visuals to shake a stick at, A Lonely Place To Die is a
true thrill ride of a film and one that will leave you as breathless as being
dunked into an ice-cold Scottish river.
In fact by the end you may well have been.