Published on June 26th, 2013 | by Allan Brown3
EIFF 2013: For Those in Peril Review
Movie Review: For Those in Peril (2013)
Director: Paul Wright
Writer: Paul Wright
Cast: Kate Dickie, George MacKay, Michael Smiley, Nichola Burley, Jordan Young
Plot: When Aaron the sole survivor of a fishing boat accident that claimed the lives of five local men, including his brother Michael (Jordan Young), returns to his small Scottish coastal village, he struggles to reintegrate into the community. Feeling outcast, alone and overwhelmed with grief, Aaron refuses to give up or accept the loss of his brother
Writer, Director Paul Wright creates a beautiful poetic tale, exploring the power of love and loss in his deep, visceral and emotionally charged feature début.
Aaron (George Mackay), an awkward outsider in his small fishing community, returns home after surviving the boating tragedy that claimed the lives of all else aboard, including his elder brother Michael (Jordan Young). Aaron, who feels increasingly frightened and isolated, can remember no details of what happened. He not only struggles with the guilt felt from being the only survivor, but the guilt imposed on him by a community who will not readily forgive him for being alive, while their loved ones are dead.
In his loneliness and anguish, Aaron reaches out Michael’s fiancée (Nichola Burley) which fuels the communities suspicions and anger further, in particular Nicholas father (Michael Smiley).
“Do you think if you believe anything enough, it’ll become true?” asks Aaron. With his state of mind worsening by the day, Aaron, propelled by folklore and local superstition clings to the hope that Michael is still alive, and thus sets out to save him from “The devil in the ocean”.
Wright’s feature début is a strong character drama that explores psychological trauma through a visceral coloured palette and a rich, compelling and thought provoking narrative. Wright uses almost every aid at his disposal to ensure the audience feels and experiences Aarons increasing fragility, torment and state of mind, and he balances it note perfect. This is achieved through a tapestry of visual formats (Super8 footage), sound, folklore and news articles that blur the lines between reality and fantasy. These methods of storytelling never force an idea, but rather tease the audience with possibilities, allow them to draw their own conclusions.
Wrights prominent direction and vision is felt throughout the narrative, but it must be said, his cast deserve as much recognition. George Mackay gives a powerful, sad and heartbreakingly honest performance as our troubled lead, Aaron.
Kate Dickie provides the emotional centre of the film, and exists as Aarons only buoy in stormy waters, in a town that has outcast one of their own. Cathy performance although understated encapsulates the heartbreak and strength of a mother who wrestles with her own grief, whilst trying remain strong for her now, only remaining son. Both performances are quite simply stunning and career defining.
It could be argued that the film becomes stagnant in its second act, refusing to move on in narrative, busying itself with visual flourishes and techniques that slow the pace. I however enjoyed these moments and found they added intrigue, beauty and mystery to an already compelling film.
Summary: For those in peril is as deep, scary and as beautiful as the sea itself