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A LONELY PLACE FOR DYING: digital

SYNOPSIS:
While the Vietnam war continues in 1972, an abandoned Mexican prison sits in the empty Chihuahua desert. The CIA's mole in the KGB, Nikolai Dzerzhinsky (Ross Marquand) waits for his contact from the Washington Post, who is under orders from his editor Howard Simons (James Cromwell). Dzerzhinsky holds explosive evidence against the CIA; information he will trade for asylum in the United States. The CIA's Special Agent Robert Harper (Michael Scovotti) masquerading as the Post's Scott Webb under orders from his superior, Anthony Greenglass (Michael Wincott), must obtain this evidence and kill Dzerzhinsky or risk the end of his CIA career. As the two men hunt each other they discover that the sins from their past destined them for this deadly confrontation.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Full of tense atmos and neatly balancing the thrilling hunt themes with some personal histories of two men pitted against each other, A Lonely Place for Dying is compelling and satisfying. It's the personal insights from the KGB double agent Nikolai Dzerzhinsky (Ross Marquand) that would have offended the Russians, who banned the film. Dzerzhinsky talks about his family's proud socialist history and his great grandfather's devotion to the cause as a member of the original body that became the KGB. But over time, the ideals gave way to lies, corruption, greed and nothing about the socialist ideals.

Well, some of us have known all that for decades, but the Russians are a sensitive lot when it comes to mother country, socialism and its failures. If I were writing this in Moscow, I too would be banned....

But back to the film, which fuses the spy thriller to that sub-genre of thrillers which take place in a single (usually isolated) location. Two men or groups hunt each other; in this scenario, the twist is that the two men who confront each other at the beginning become a team by half way through.

Executed with skill, the film uses its primary element - the abandoned Mexican prison - to terrific effect, from the caged cells to the underground tunnels and the many stairwells. The story hangs on the secret that Dzerzhinsky has uncovered about a CIA manager who had gone rogue and used chemical weapons against civilians in the war. That man is none other than Robert Harper's (Michael Scovotti) boss, Anthony Greenglass (Michael Wincott).

The action plot is straightforward but it made interesting by the way the screenplay develops the relationship between the two spies. There is no knowing where it will go when they first clash, the Russian very much the cool head who wins the first round. But just as we think it's all going well for him, a new development propels the action in a new direction.

Excellent design and music, with terrific camerawork, complete what is arguably a better movie than many which get a theatrical release.

Published February 14, 2013



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

A LONELY PLACE FOR DYING (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Ross Marquand, Michael Scovotti, James Cromwell, Michael Wincott, Brad Culver, Mike Peebler, Luis Robledo, Jason R. Moore

PRODUCER: James Cromwell, Brent Daniels, Ross Marquand

DIRECTOR: Justin Eugene Evans

SCRIPT: Justin Eugene Evans, Catherine Doughty,

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nick Bongianni, Justin Eugene Evans

EDITOR: Brad Stoddard

MUSIC: Brent Daniels

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: iTunes

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 12, 2013 - https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/a-lonely-place-for-dying/id586493636

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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