Gorgeous helicopter shots, the mountains of northern Scotland, mountain climbers – and sniper kidnappers. Welcome to A Lonely Place to Die.
The movie starts with three climbers ascending an open face, and decides to show you just how good their safety equipment is. These three are joined by a couple on what appears to be a usual holiday trip as they spend the night in a low tech stone cottage that has no phone, no cell service but does have gin and whisky.
The next day was to be an easy climb, since the weather was uncertain, which is probably a blessing since Alison (Melissa George) seems a little bit worse this morning for her "ginsky" drinking the night before. It is during the lunch break that the real games begin. They find a hole dug in the ground with a breathing hole and a young girl trapped inside. Deciding to rescue her, they split up. Four, including the girl, will walk miles to the closest town while two will take the Devil's Gap down and send for help. (Good thing the cell phones don't work or you'd have no movie.)
And then the kidnappers decide they want the girl back.
A cat and mouse game through the wilds of Scotland makes for intense viewing. There's a subplot about the kidnappers and the money exchange, which adds some heft to this 98 minute movie. There is also a village festival that adds an air of unreality to the final scenes.
A Lonely Place to Die is the third feature for the brothers Julian and Will Gilbey, who share writing, directing and editing duties. (Will handling the second unit directing.) For this film, they both started mountain climbing so that their research would be more visceral. At the Q&A after the film, Will revealed that the opening sequence was inspired by a moment that almost happened to him when a rope caught his foot, though luckily not at the 2500 foot elevation that they filmed that sequence. Will mentioned how lucky they were to have great weather while filming in and around Inverness since he'd heard of other productions being delayed for weeks. He also praised Canadian composure Michael Richard Plowman for the haunting Celtic score.
Clearly, this is a team of brothers to keep an eye on.