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27 Dec 2011

A Lonely Place to Die

I was genuinely really looking forward to this, the tightly edited trailer really makes the most of the good bits, like any good trailer should do, and promises a great thriller that will deliver on all fronts. ALPTD is set in the Scottish Highlands and sees a group of rock climbers discover a kidnapped infant girl in an underground cell, they attempt an increasingly dangerous and fateful rescue as the kidnappers hunt them across the hillocks and slippery shale. Unfortunately, almost immediately I became distracted by the clunky, sometimes embarrassingly bad and unnatural dialogue which made the characters seem cold and distant from each other. On top of that there was the other immediate distraction in the lack of any believable friendship between them. It seemed to me that the actors had only just met on the morning of the first shoot and bought to mind the friendship between the characters in Shark Night 3D, I'm sure ALPTD was not intended for that same audience.

It's a shame because Melissa George is an excellent actress, working with directors such as Steven Soderbergh and David Lynch, but she didn't have the opportunity or screen-time to shine in this. She would have certainly been able to carry the film with the outstanding support of Sean Harris and Stephen McCole as the psychotic bad guys hunting her across the fens; a chase and showdown between just those three, George attempting to hide and protect the kidnapped infant in the wilderness whilst Harris & McCole tracked her through the crosshairs, shot in a minimal and gritty style would have been a film worth watching. But sadly the antagonists performances were painfully brief and the plot was stymied with an unnecessary inclusion of an Eastern European sub-text. Not to mention the drawn-out finale surrounding the rescue of the infant girl by a private security firm played admirably by Eamonn Walker et al; the near annihilation of a local village procession and a murderous rampage provided the absurd and not-at-all believable climax that the film wasn't calling for.

I get the impression that the Gilbey brothers were like a 'dog with a bone', not wanting to give up any of their precious screenplay and seeing as it was one of them that directed the film they had no real incentive or third-party advice to do so (or none that they were willing to take on board), thus wasting the opportunity of some cracking performances from what should have been a minimal and scaled-down cast and plot that must have been staring them in the face the whole time. There seems to be a general bloated, convoluted amount of padding around what had the potential to be a genuinely exciting and emotional action thriller.

A Lonely Place To Die, 2011. J Gilbey.

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