For Those In Peril (2013)

For Those In PerilThe sole survivor of a fishing accident that also claimed the life of his brother, Michael (Jordan Young), Aaron (George Mackay) is struggling to come to terms with the recent tragedy — and he’s not alone. Unable to remember anything of the incident, Aaron is unable to satisfy the villagers with an explanation, for which they resent and ostracise him. Unable to cope with their cumulative guilt, and abandoned by his one remaining confidant, Michael’s ex (Nichola Burley), Aaron re-purposes a childhood story that his mother (Kate Dickie) used to tell him and his brother, convincing himself not only that Michael is alive and well, but that he can still be saved from The Devil In The Ocean.

In competition for the Michael Powell award at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, For Those In Peril marks the debut of Scottish writer-director Paul Wright. Its an accomplished effort by any estimation, but the fact that it is Wright’s first feature makes it all the more impressive an achievement. The story might be relatively light on plot, but the director easily fills the 93-minute running time with a narrative that is complex and engaging in other ways.

Certain images and phrases are repeated throughout the film, gaining greater significance each time they appear, while numerous mediums are combined and contrasted in order to give the film a dream-like, almost hypnotic aspect that is by turns distancing and almost uncomfortably intimate. Comprising home video, documentary footage and scenes captured by camera phone, For Those In Peril is a patchwork of mediums, expertly edited by Michael Aaglund; a multi-sensory tapestry that feels strangely mythic long before we are introduced to The Devil In The Ocean.

George Mackay is haunting as Aaron, approaching the role with a sensitivity and ambiguity that make him incredibly compelling. He appears to have already revised much of his own childhood, re-casting his brother as some sort of fallen hero, setting a precedent for delusional thinking that will later see him obsessing over a fairytale that everyone else has long since forgotten. Kate Dickie amazes too as his heartbroken mother, particularly in a scene in which she struggles through a karaoke performance dedicated defiantly to “her boys”.

It is in the melancholic whimsy of the fairytale that For Those In Peril finds its identity, however, adding yet another layer to Wright’s already multifaceted narrative. After campaigning to return to the water and failing to find a fisherman willing to take him out, Aaron constructs a makeshift raft and sets out in search of the legendary leviathon himself. These scenes are eerily reminiscent of films such as Where The Wild Things Are and Beasts Of The Southern Wild, but differ drastically in both their desperation and distinct lack of childhood innocence.

For Those In Peril is a triumph in storytelling, devastating as a human drama about survivor-guilt but also as a dark fiction that borders at times on the folkloric. Carried confidently by Mackay and Dickie, Wright’s film is an intense, absorbing and poetic portrait of loneliness and isolation, shot beautifully by Benjamin Kracun.

5-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to For Those In Peril (2013)

  1. Pingback: June 2013 – Wait, I feel like I should say something important | popcornaddict

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