A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

rEJDnBeAfter watching “A Lonely Place to Die” it’s a darn shame that Melissa George isn’t more widely acknowledged by American audiences. She has a unique striking beauty, a dazzling on-screen presence, delivers some truly strong performances, and plays a dashing on-screen heroine. After watching her in the hidden gem “Triangle” and now this near masterpiece of a thriller, I find it shocking that George isn’t a huge star in the states as she should be. She’s prone to playing strong often independent women and here she flexes her muscle and scowl with what can only be described as a teeth grinding thriller that will leave most audiences clutching their seats in agony.

A mixture of “Cliffhanger” and “The River Wild,” director Julian Gilbey’s film examines what happens when the best intentions leads to ultimate doom. Gilbey paints his film in the vast Scottish countryside painting the film with mountains and lush rolling hills, yet can never quite escape the ultimate sense of claustrophobia that emerges once the tension is amped up. Gilbey’s film is beautifully photographed and features some absolutely amazing wide scenes of mountain climbing and nature at its fiercest. All the while five mountain climbers ultimately stumble upon a purpose during one day of good natured hiking and climbing.

Venturing in to the woods they discover a young girl buried alive in a hole and confusion looms as to how they can react to a situation that calls for their quick reaction. All shit hits the fan immediately as the group not only must venture in to the wilderness with the young girl at their side, but must also escape the clutches of her kidnappers who are on the tracks of the five friends are none too happy she’s been saved. “A Lonely Place to Die” props two potential villainous forces as the kidnappers pose a deadly threat, but are nothing compared to the hazards of the natural environment, which proves to be as dangerous as any human force hunting down the well meaning adventurers.

George handles the role of this conflicted heroine wonderfully and steals much of the scenes from a majority of the cast members, making her a very believable sudden guardian angel whose entire drive becomes protecting the young girl at all costs, even if it means losing her friends in the process. Gilbey is able to draw out the tension very well lowering the security for the audience whose fears for the cast’s safety will be justified by the time the film reaches its second half. There’s a strict sense of paranoia that emerges from this entire plot as we can never be sure whom we can trust and who are meaning to help the cause for this young life.

This slowly ratchets the atmosphere and tension with sheer urgency that becomes so much more volatile as the minutes pass. Gilbey is a talented director, and he delivers one hell of a striking cinematic survival thriller that left me winded and pondering on why Ms. George hasn’t stormed the American consciousness yet. Probably one of the most engrossing films in a truly lackluster year, “A Lonely Place to Die” is yet another hidden gem starring the truly underrated Melissa George who is more than ready to be welcomed in to the arena of action heroines in short supply here in America.