06th Feb2014

‘For Those in Peril’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: George MacKay, Kate Dickie, Michael Smiley, Nichola Burley, Brian McCardie, Jordan Young, Conor McCarron, Lewis Howden | Written and Directed by Paul Wright


There are times when I’m reminded just why I love the British movie industry and the films they produce.  Over the last month I reviewed The Selfish Giant, and now I’ve had the chance to watch For Those in Peril and these are two movies that show not only how brave film-making can be, but also how powerful when done correctly.  It’s also interesting that this week this is the second movie that I’ve reviewed this week to stay George MacKay.

For Those in Peril is a movie about loss, and tells the story of Aaron (MacKay) the lone survivor of a fishing accident in a remote Scottish fishing village.  Grieving for his brother who died in the accident he finds himself an outcast of the small community, with the blame put on him.  With old superstitions and folklore filling his head about the sea, he becomes obsessed with the belief that his brother is not dead and sets out to save him and the rest of the men he feels he left behind.

In For Those in Peril the theme of loss is examined at different levels.  The level we feel the most is that of Aaron, who feels a loneliness that only grief can bring.  In looking for help in the community he is pushed away, and those who try to help him he in his own way pushes them away.  There is an inevitability in the situation that you can feel coming as this is a boy reaching out for help and only finding one thing, the sea which lingers in the background almost like an ominous extra character, monster or “devil” as folklore suggests.

The community around Aaron you would assume should rally around him and help him and the way they push him away is in a way metaphorical for the way the character himself is pushing the world away.  They blame him for the accident and in a more extreme way believe he should never have returned from the sea.  For a boy who was a social misfit before the accident this has all the hallmarks of sending him over the edge, the path he is led down only takes him deeper into his own sadness and internal turmoil.  The inevitability of this creates an atmosphere of dread and constant loneliness that we the audience constantly feel.

When I called For Those in Peril brave film making I say this because it’s obvious that Paul Wright the director and writer of the movie had a vision and unflinchingly pushes ahead with it, even to the point of the surreal ending which will confuse many.  I won’t go into the detail because that would spoil it, but the clues to its meaning are evident throughout the movie and the result of Aaron’s actions lead him exactly where he wanted to be. It may be a selfish destination but he has few other paths to take.  The ending becomes more metaphorical for the audience than literal, and I find myself admiring the fact that this was the way it was done instead of keeping it simple for people who don’t really want to use their brains a little.

To make a movie like For Those in Peril so effective the actors have to be up to the job and very much like The Selfish Giant the impact of the movie is that there is a level of realism to the film.  With constant home movies interspersed into film we are pulled into the history of Aaron’s relationship with his brother through the good and bad times, we are even made to question just what we think of Aaron himself and is he the person we think he is? It’s the performance of George MacKay that pushes the character in ways to a level where we as the audience begin to question just what happened on the boat.  Aaron at times is a character that is confusing and hard to like, the community who ostracise him aren’t really given much space for forgiveness at times, though they are very hard to sympathise with.

For Those in Peril is not only an examination of grief and the loneliness of loss, but it also touches on mental illness and in some ways individuality.  Aaron is a character that has always been somewhat of an outsider, even in surviving he is an individual and even when the community comes together to mourn their dead he is still the outsider.  That individuality may be his fatal flaw, but it’s still what makes him so special.

I do rate For Those in Peril highly and would fully recommend it but you do have to go in prepared.  It’s a very effective psychological drama that begins intense and never lets up till the very end.  You may find that you need to find a Disney movie or something else to brighten your mood after this one though because it takes you into dark places, though you’ll still enjoy the trip there.

For Those in Peril is due for DVD release on 3rd March here in the UK. You can also read our EIFF 2013 review of the film right here.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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