For Those In Peril (R18)

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Review byKatherine McLaughlin4/10/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

A surreal and haunting exploration of grief and superstition, set in a small Scottish fishing village amidst a tragic shipwreck with a lone survivor.

What’s it all about?
Aaron, the only survivor of a shipwrecked fishing trawler returns to his village as a tainted man, not to be trusted, forever reminding the community of this tragic incident.

The Good
Wright begins his story with poetic mythology, introducing the windswept fishing village of Gourdon, Aberdeenshire with a ghostly charm through the eyes of Aaron. He carves out a community whose respect and fear for the sea governs their every move. An ancient myth instilled in Aaron leads him to have hope that his brother and the other crew members may one day return if only he searches for long enough, and a melancholy air tugs him towards his brother’s fiancé (an eloquent performance from Nichola Burley) as someone to share in his sorrows and help in his quest.

The mystery of what occurred the night the ship went down is constantly addressed with Aaron’s distorted flashbacks, as Wright layers intrigue to a question we know can never truly be answered, but still the glimmer of hope, which Aaron feels towards his brother, is translated to the audience exceptionally well.

The Great
George MacKay is phenomenal as Aaron, shifting between lucid, emotionally wrought and strangely aggressive. His performance is located at the centre of a dry-land storm of despair and heartache, within an unwelcoming community, and feels completely natural.

Writer and director Paul Wright continually plays with the audiences sympathies, making Aaron something of an unreliable narrator, his memories both revealing and ambiguous and his actions perplexing. For Those in Peril surges along like a sad sea ballad steeped in superstition, forever floating in your mind: it’s a poetic and poignant beast of a film. There’s no victory in Aaron’s return, instead he receives simply animosity from the community as he is a constant reminder of the tragedy. This swell of darkness and regret is displayed as overwhelming emotion thanks to Wright’s use of hazy and nightmarish visuals and MacKay’s raw performance.

Worth seeing?
For Those in Peril is an extremely strong debut feature from Wright who envelops the audience in the grief and torment of its protagonist. It’s a highly affecting and beguiling piece of film from an exciting new talent.

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For Those In Peril (R18)
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Content updated: 18/01/2020 10:17

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