Touching the void for dummies
As generic and entirely disposable as it is, A Lonely Place To Die is actually something of a novelty in that it's a pretty straight forward thriller that got a nationwide release. Thrillers tend to be the stuff of straight to Video On Demand, of premiering on Sky Movies. But maybe because this one had Melissa George's name on it, an actress who seemed to transition from being eye candy in big movies to being a deceptively talented B movie star with enough clout to at least get these things seen. From Waz down through to Triangle, she made a tough, impressive centre to varying genre shenanigans and that is no different in A Lonely Place To Die, a film that starts of being a thriller about mountaineering, and ends up being a hostage thriller.
It's a gargantuan mess, and the writers have a serious case of ADD, but thanks to a couple of good performances and a couple of creative sequences, the thing has enough about to be a solid piece of pulp entertainment. We follow a group of amateur mountain climbers who upon discovering a living girl buried in the ground, find that rescuing her brings down all hell on them, in the form of Psycho professional kidnapper Sean Harris. Now, if anyone was born to play a psycho in the movies it was 24 Hour Party People's Harris, with angular features and raspy voice to make you uncomfortable in any circumstance. But he's pretty awesome here, resisting the urge to go over the top and instead choosing to play his blank slate of a character with a quiet menace. Also excellent is Eamonn Walker, who arrives somewhat out of the blue for the final act. Walker did a stint on ER and stole Lord Of War out from under Nicolas Cage's feet, and again he brings a commanding presence to the film it sorely missed and almost makes you wish the entire thing had been about him.
George and her group of mountain climbers a bit blander, although I think more could have been done to make these character make a bit more of a mark, although George herself does the best with what she's given and mostly sells the Pseudo-Ripley vibe she has with the box-girl they find. Who herself isn't allowed to be anything more than a plot device. The film is pretty run of the mill, and it does feel like one of things you forget as soon as you leave the cinema, but thanks to the sheer lack of thrillers released lately perhaps its worth checking out, at least to remind yourself what those cliches looked like. But you know, could be worse.