[Film Review] FOR THOSE IN PERIL (Sydney Film Festival)


The line up to the premiere of this Scottish film directed by Paul Wright was so long that it became a matter of those in peril lining up to see For Those in Peril. And those who braved lengthy queues were certainly far from disappointed in this absolute tearjerker.

George Mackay is Aaron, a youth alienated within his own community following a fishing accident from which he is the only survivor, with his town blaming him for the deaths of the five other men onboard including his older brother. The typical small town mentality is blown out of the water by Wright who aptly portrays a town grieving, as well as Aaron’s grieving process as he struggles to come to terms with his own grief and the angst of his community against him, promising that he will recover his brother from the sea.

In a rare moment where my attention was diverted from the film to the audience, I couldn’t help but notice the sniffles and sighs from crying filmgoers from start to finish. This incredibly poignant film conveys an experience from which Wright admittedly drew upon in his own encounter with grief, the reality of tragedy further enhanced through his incorporation of home video footage and first hand recounts of the encounter. With a great cast and beautiful cinematography, the film epitomizes sadness and grief.

As an official entry in the Sydney Film Festival Prize competition, Paul Wright is a definite chance of taking out this year’s gong. The film is innovative and creative, heart breaking and resolute in its attempt to broaden our understanding of a foreign setting and the stereotype of seafaring folklore belonging to these communities in Scotland. This is a different insight into grief following the path of its power to alienate rather than congregate.

Directed by Paul Wright
Starring: George Mackay, Kate Dickie, Michael Smiley

Reviewer: Sami Swilksy