Eight months after losing her husband in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, Claire (Kristen Dalton) finally returns to the home they shared in New Jersey. Still shook up by the loss, and with a son, Ryan (Hans Otto Schundler), who refuses to speak to her as he processes the tragedy, Claire throws herself back into her work at a pharmaceutical company, where business has not been going so good.
However, the way the company’s shares are structured, if the company could be sold then the various employees, regardless of their place on the corporate ladder, would stand to make some money. Thus pressure starts coming at Claire to sign-off on a sale, and as she starts to agree, a virulent new strain of tuberculosis breaks out. A strain that apparently only Claire’s employers have the drugs to combat, and the price of shares go through the roof.
Suddenly Claire’s company is sitting on a gold mine, yet Claire finds the entire situation a little too fishy for its own good. As she stalls the sale, others within the company begin to turn on her (as, again, everyone stands to make money here) and the FBI arrives to investigate, as the breakout is suspected to be a terrorist act. With the breakout getting worse and Claire becoming the victim of threats, time begins running out for Claire to protect herself, her family and, ultimately, her country.
A Dangerous Place tackles a number of different themes, from corporate foul play to terrorism to grief to big pharma to patriotism. It’s a wonder that the film manages to jam as much in while still maintaining the necessary momentum to carry the suspenseful thriller forward. There are cracks here or there, but for the most part the film pulls off everything it attempts.
Unfortunately, the musical score is a tad too melodramatically on-the-nose for its own good, often calling attention more to itself than heightening the action in any given scene. It’s not always overbearing, but when it is you almost feel like the filmmakers aren’t trusting you to get the stakes of the situation on your own, and thus they really need to hammer it in.
Also, while the film does keep the suspense growing throughout, it remains thoroughly predictable if you’re paying attention. In other words, if you have some suspicions about who might be behind everything, or what’s going on, you’re probably right. The film does try to misdirect you from that suspicion, but the misdirect is equally as obvious, which only underlines your earlier guess.
Still, predictability does not automatically equate to bad, and A Dangerous Place is a strong thriller despite its shortcomings. Even though you may know where it’s going, it’s actually a pretty entertaining time getting there and, again, the other elements, such as Claire and her family still coming to terms with their loss, adds something more to the proceedings.
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