Film: For Those In Peril
Director: Paul Wright
Production: Warp Productions
Writers: Paul Wright
Cast: George MacKay, Kate Dickie Nichola Burley, Michael Smiley
It’s a funny thing seeing a film at 11 in the morning and it’s probably fair to say that some films are better determined by your mood and time of the day. I do think that I’d probably enjoyed this film late at night in the comfort of my own home alone, nevertheless there were quite a few issues that I had with Those In Peril that has meant that I have giving the film a less than favourable review.
Aaron, George MaCkay, is the sole survivor of a fishing boat sinking in a remote fishing town in Scotland. Five others are presumed dead, along with his brother Michael, (Jordan Young). The town are suspicious of Aaron and his loss of memory as to what happened. A somewhat outcast beforehand, the town slowly ostracise Aaron and he becomes obsessed that his fellow fishermen and brother are still alive and that something supernatural took them, particularly obsessed with a local folklore tale his devoted mother, Kate Dickie tells him. As the town’s alienation grows, so does Aaron’s mental state as he descends into believing the devil took them and sets out to kill it and free his crew, but must do so before he is taken away under the mental health act.
Part of my frustration with this movie is that it almost threatens the potential of being a supernatural genre movie, which I would be all for, but it’s slow pace and the ubiquitous Scottish film trait of being another miserable social realist film, fails to make it stand out. Visually, it’s okay, but never makes the sea seem like a powerful antagonist. It is said in the film that the sea must be respected but the film show’s no reason why it has been disrespected. It’s very similar to Take Shelter, not that I am saying it is a copycat, but in comparison it really missed the beats of tension and danger that would arouse a greater deal of suspense. I was somewhat unconvinced by George Mackay, his accent slips somewhat in moments of danger. Another particular grievance is the use of video camera footage of Michael and Aaron, although it builds up their relationship nicely, it breaks the visual continuity and it just feels like an overused and abused technique in film now. Although For Those In Peril concludes with a somewhat heart in the mouth scene, the story ends without any real resolution to the point it becomes a blink and you will miss.
I hoped For Those In Peril would be a step in the right direction for Scottish film but it’s still part of the modern day Scottish film cliché of leaving the audience just a tad miserable.