8.5 out of 10
Release Date: 4th October 2013
Director: Paul Wright
Cast: George Mackay, Kate Dickie, Nichola Burley, Brian McCardie, Jordan Young, Conor McCarron and Michael Smiley
Writer: Paul Wright
Trailer: FOR THOSE IN PERIL
To be proofread: This surprising film is an archetype of where quality British cinema is ‘at’ these days. Reminiscent of Lynne Ramsay‘s short films, Paul Wright‘s For Those In Peril is a haunting allegory to those lost at sea. Set on the west coast of Scotland, Aaron (GEORGE MACKAY – THE BOYS ARE BACK) is the sole survivor of a fishing boat crew that included his brother Michael (JORDAN YOUNG). The boat sank in mysterious circumstances and he is suffering psyche-changing ‘survivor’s guilt.’ However the townsfolk, led by the families of the lost also compound his sorrow by ostracising him at every turn. Some call him a jonah, others blame his lack of experience for the ‘accident.’ Only Aaron’s mother, played by Kate Dickie (PROMETHEUS) and his brother’s fiancee (NICHOLA BURLEY – KICKS) spend any serious time with him. His claims that his brother may still be alive only serve to unnerve and upset everybody even more. He becomes obsessed with his quest to find his lost brother because of a childhood story his mother told them. Endangering all those he comes into contact with could he actually be right? Could his brother be somewhere just beyond the horizon?
Flashbacks play a large part of For Those In Peril. Silent movies shot on Super 8, or highly filtered memories of Aaron and Michael’s childhood invade the present day scenes like ghosts. Aaron’s quest is prompted by strong memories of childhood games of hide and seek. Phone cameras and video cameras also seem to house Michael’s ghost. The missing brother is everywhere in the film. It’s very easy to get swept up in Aaron’s quest although it’s physically impossible that Michael could be in his house undiscovered. The town’s superstitions isolate him to the extent that his quest literally sends him completely mental. His insistence that his friends had come into contact with the devil in the sea becomes a central focus leading to an unexpected yet utterly beautiful and sad ending that makes us reassess all that we have been watching.
The performances from the largely Scots cast are fantastic from the leads down to the featured extras. George Mackay seems to be making a name for himself in large Britpics like Sunshine On Leith and How I Live Now but For Those In Peril contains his best performance to date. He looks pallid and ill, convincing as the utterly disturbed Aaron. The locations, editing, cinematography and ultimately the very impressive soundtrack elevate this unique film even further. It’s a bit slow to be sure, but it’s worth staying with until the utterly shattering and brilliant denouement.
8.5 out of 10 – Emotionally satisfying film that is quietly unique. Highly recommended. Please stay to the end.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- George Mackay: Bypass, Pride (2014), Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson, Sunshine On Leith, How I Live Now, Hunky Dory, Private Peaceful, The Boys Are Back, Defiance, Peter Pan (2003)
- Kate Dickie: Not Another Happy Ending, Game of Thrones (TV), Filth, Shell, Now Is Good, Prometheus, Outcast, Somers Town, Summer (2008), Red Road
- Nichola Burley: Twenty8K, Payback Season, Kicks, Wuthering Heights (2011), Soulboy, Streetdance, Donkey Punch
- Brian McCardie: Filth, Speed 2, The Ghost and The Darkness
- Conor McCarron: Neds
- Michael Smiley: The Devil Went Down To Islington, Black Sea, We Are The Freaks, Svengali, The World’s End, A Field In England, The ABCs of Death, Shell, Luther (TV), Kill List, Burke & Hare, Down Terrace, Outpost, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster