Our third kidnapping film is set in the mountains of the Scottish Highlands. In the simplest of terms, in lieu of a description – a group, out for a spot of mountaineering, discovers a young kidnapped girl in a beneath the ground cell. They take it upon themselves to get her back to safety. Only it won’t be easy as they will be pursued by the heavily armed kidnappers.
The film, A Lonely Place to Die, was written by the brothers Julian and Will Gilbey and was directed by Julian. The stars are Ed Speleers, Melissa George, and Eamonn Walker. I must admit that I have no knowledge about any of the lead actors or the film’s principals. They’re all unfamiliar to me. But maybe that’s good, as I won’t have any preconceived notions about them.
For sure the film will be fresh as will be the Scottish Highlands. It has been awhile since I saw Liam Neesom trotting around those Highlands in kilts in the near classic film Rob Roy. But as the film opens, we have three mountaineers on a big mountain. When the camera is set up on a helicopter that’s in flight aways off from the mountain, the man looks so small and insignifcant. Rather dazzling aerial cinematography for those of you that are interested.
Of the threesome, one is about 50 meters above the other two. I guess this is what is called ‘lead climbing’. He is actually carrying a rope upward and another is looped through his harness back down to the base climbers below. They are the ones who let out the rope to allow his upward progression without undue slack. Since the rope is of fixed length, he can go up only so far. Once he’s there. he will create an anchor so the ones below can climb upward, with the last climber bringing the rope up with him or her until they’re all at the same level when the process begins again.
Anway, it is relatively safe, as long as you’re fit, and know the equipment cold. But accidents do occur. The next day the party is five and they set off for the day’s climb. When they’re still within the trees, one goes off a distance to relieve himself, and he think he hears something. Long story short, they discover a small girl about 7 years old who has been buried in a 8 foot deep and 4 x 3 pit that has a metallic stove pipe for a breathing tube breaking the ground surface. There’s a heavy wooden plate that has been covered with dirt and leaves concealing the location with the girl beneath it.
They get her out. She’s terrified, speaks no English. The obvious conclusion is that she was put there, to be hidden for a day or two. If they simply wanted her dead there would be no breathing tube. So the group decide to head back, down off the mountain, and bring the girl to the police.
Easier said then done. Armed men discover that their captive has been spirited away and they set out to get her back. It is a kidnapping and the ransom is 6 million US $.
That’s the first half of the film and it was beautiful to see the wild country, the mountains, gorges, dizzying heights, even the eagle in flight surveilling them.
And that’s where my set up ends. The second half is nearly a different film entirely. Much less unique and creative. Instead we get chases, riflemen, lots of surprises, and far less coherence. The situations change and people who should die because they fell, or drowned, or both – don’t die. Others that you want to root for do die.
It’s simply two movies in one. With a good half and a bad half. Plenty happens that is unexpected, and even worse, simply unbelievable. Not knowing the actors helped as did filming in the rugged Scottish Highlands. The downside is of course that it is sometimes difficult to understand the Scottish accents. Take a look at the images, and the trailer, and see if you want to see this one – available from Netflix as a DVD rental. It is not offered as a streaming video.
I’ll rate it at three point zero. The Trailer is below.