For Those in Peril

Film Review by Alan Bett | 01 Oct 2013
Film title: For Those in Peril
Director: Paul Wright
Starring: George MacKay, Michael Smiley, Kate Dickie
Release date: 4 Oct (UK); 8 Nov (Scotland)
Certificate: 18

“Respect the sea, because the sea’s the master,” reflects a voice over ominous images of crashing waves. It’s surely the boss of Aaron, whose brother and crew were swallowed by it on his virgin fishing voyage. Survivor guilt manifests as he sponges up the community’s shared grief. Superstition fills the gaps in their comprehension of death; they turn to myth, a type of sacrifice to the sea – their god and monster. 

Director Paul Wright shows enough verve to cut through the kitchen-sink morbidity miring so much UK film. Documentary-style footage punctures the bubble of cinema, allowing us to imagine the true tragedy of lost young lives – only one example of Wright's inventive techniques.

When the director tips the scales a little too far stylistically, however, serious flaws emerge; poetic inner monologues scream Terrence Malick mimicry, while metaphors are muddy. The film eventually unravels with Aaron’s fragile mind. Still, this is bold and interesting filmmaking, with a reliable and familiar cast supporting the strong performance of talented newcomer George MacKay.

Released by Soda Pictures: In UK cinemas 4 Oct, except for in Scotland, where it is released 8 Nov