March 16, 2012

Filthy Review - A Lonely Place to Die

A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

I will admit that the anticipation levels for this movie were incredibly high. The trailer hooked me and I am a sucker for Melissa George. With this comes the fear of the double-edged sword; it won’t live up to expectations, regardless of how good it is, or it will just be a terrible movie cloaked in nice window dressing. Well, I really shouldn’t have worried myself as A Lonely Place to Die not only lived up to expectations, it far surpassed them.

As the movie begins it would appear that we are in very familiar territory; a group of friends meet up in the ass-end of nowhere in order to go on a climbing expedition. This is true, we have seen this initial premise before, but this is one of the movies many strong points. This familiarity with the set-up lulls you into a false sense of security as the movie managed to surprise me time and time again.

Anyway, back to the plot. Alison (Melissa George) and a group of friends all meet up to go climbing. On their ascent though they make a truly chilling discovery, and the bulk of the remaining movie shows us how they deal with this discovery. Of course, you could watch the trailer which shows you what they find, and a bit more. If you haven’t seen the trailer just steer clear of it and go into this movie cold. But even if you have there are still plenty of surprises and holy shit moments to be had.

I certainly wouldn’t describe A Lonely Place to Die as a horror flick, although it does contain elements of one. If you do want to categorize it though, I would probably lean towards a survival thriller. It is in turn brutal, beautiful and shocking. Director Julian Gilbey has crafted a truly terrific movie here, from the stunning aerial vistas to scenes of bloody violence and everything in-between.

Melissa George shows once again that she is quite at home starring in the darker side of cinema. After turns in the likes of 30 Days of Night, Triangle and The Amityville Horror she gives another strong showing here as the leader of the group. In fact the entire cast all give really impressive performances, from more familiar faces, such as Karel Roden, through to the less familiar.

If I did have anything negative to say about the film it would that towards the latter stages there appears to be some kind of parade/festival going on that just seemed to come out of nowhere. After the sense of isolation that has come before this just seemed a little heavy-handed and out of place. Don’t get me wrong though, it does nothing to spoil the overall impact of this quite exceptional movie.

Aside from being a terrific action based thriller it also manages to make you think about the actions and repercussions of these actions that the characters make. It is not a cut and dry scenario and really puts into question the morality of the events. Yes, you really can look that deeply into, as Gilbey has done a wonderful job of manipulating the viewing experience and emphasizing the climber’s ignorance to the events they are dealing with.

A Lonely Place to Die is a gorgeous film to look at that thinks nothing of sucker-punching you right in the face. A clever script and great performances lift this way above the average and comes with a solid recommendation. Hell, it’s only March and I am already convinced this will hit my year end list, even if it did get its original release in 2011.

A Lonely Place to Die is released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 20th by IFC Midnight and MPI Media Group


Dead Moon Night said...

Great Review, Great Movie! I felt the same when I saw it, I had high hopes and it didnt fail to deliver

SHUKAKKE said...

I am interested to see this film. Well done review, Jude!