High Lane (2010)
Director: Abel Ferry
A group of friends decide that it would be a good idea to hike up a remote mountain in Croatia. As the rough terrain kicks their asses and an unseen assailant begins to hunt them down; they quickly figure out that they should have smoked the bong, tapped a Taco Bell and watched The Wraith instead.
I had never heard of the french genre film HIGH LANE (the original French title is VERTIGE BTW... which means vertigo) before catching the trailer of it at Fantastic Fest but am happy that I got to check it out as lots of it floored me like forget about it. The first half of HIGH LANE introduced us to our teen heroes, giving us enough juice as to the type of folks they are and their relationships and then put them through the ringer via the varied obstacles that arose by way of the wonderful sport that is mountain climbing. Straight up, I don't know how they did it. Rails and lap dances to director Abel Ferry for putting together a slew of jaw dropping mountain climbing scene, wrapped up in glorious cinematography that almost gave me vertigo. While witnessing them intense bits, all I kept think was; how did he do it? I mean, were the actors all expert mountain climbers? Did he find twin stuntmen? Did he bribe the insurance company to let this kind of insane shit go down on his shoot? To my naked eye, there was no green screen here a la CLIFFHANGER, it looked ALL death defying real...wow. On top of that, Ferry captured all of it via majestic wide shots and dizzying POV shots that put me right there on that mountain with the young cast.
Speaking visuals, Ferry showed a lot of flair behind the camera, I mucho dug his epic pans and smooth dolly shots, shit even the stylish scene transitions were dope as hell. Acting wise, it was hard for me to judge being that flick was dubbed (grrr, hate dubbing) but my favs were Vin Diesel look alike Raphaël Lenglet who brought nuance to what could have been a simple tough guy role and cleavage happy (and what a cleavage it was) Fanny Valette who hit all he right emotional notes while looking oh so yummy on camera. Another aspect that jazzed me was the build up; I obviously knew that this was gonna be more than a mountain climbing movie and the flick skillfully elevated the dread of something else going down as the clocked ticked forward. I kept hoping that it would be flying monsters. Being that the film reminded me a tad of THE DESCENT in terms of it set up, character dynamic and even the score (which I loved BTW), flying critters looking for human grub would have hit the spot; alas that was not to be. Which brings me to my peeves with the film.
VERTIGE nailed its first half so capably that when the hidden threat was finally revealed, I was let down. I guess I was expecting more than the same old, same old taking into account the superior goods the flick had delivered thus far. Although once I was done mourning that flying monsters were not gonna be kicking it here, I still managed to be entertained via the gory treats, the human ugliness and the brutal fights that ensued. Other beefs I had with the film were the dumb moves the serve the plot or to create manufactured tension (you can get out of restraints WITHOUT yelping and attracting attention ya know). Lastly, Johan Libéreau as the whiny, girly pants wearing Luke got my nerves on levels that only my nagging, ball breaking and Ewok pussied ex girlfriend could match. Man I hated that dude but I guess that was the point.
All in all VERTIGE's last block never lived up to its first half but as whole I really enjoyed it and I recommend it for the striking camera work and wow mountain climbing scenes alone, your pants will drop. My turn to climb mountains, tonight, at the nearest Strip Club...natch!
We get a foot cut off, spike in the chest, a slit throat, an arrow in the head (yeah bitches) and more! Red enough!
T & A
I'd love to see a whole movie dedicated to Fanny Valette ample and bouncy boobies. That cleavage had me in its grasp, I was a slave to it. The ladies get a hairy penis... vive la France!
VERTIGE aka HIGH LANE gave me an hour and a half of entertainment and when the end credits rolled, I could safely say that I had fun. Suspenseful, stylishly shot with arresting mountains climbing scenes and brutality galore come the last act, this sucka came through. Granted the flick wasn't always on top of shite when it came to being logical as to its character's reactions to the events and I so wish that the threat would have been a more novel entity than the done to motherf*cking death culprit we got but hey man what can you do. Its the way they went... gotta roll with it... flying monsters would have owned though...like really... OWNED!
The screenplay of HIGH LANE was written by Johanne Bernard & Louis-Paul Desanges.
The film has yet to lock distribution in the USA.