24 April 2015 | magnuslhad
Aaron is the sole survivor of a fishing boat accident that still pains the community. Having lost his brother in the accident, Aaron grieves, but his grief gives way to an increasingly fragile grip on reality. For Those In Peril could have been a myth-imbibed exploration of tragedy and sibling rivalry. It could have been an insightful depiction of unhinged grief. It could have been a story of personal redemption achieved in the face of a hostile community. While it hints at exploring all of these potential story lines, what it ends up being is an under-realised mish-mash that fails to cohere around any thematic, emotional or narrative thread. The film ever-so studiously chases art-house credentials, but invokes clunky genre devices that would make Michael Bay blush. For example, there is no need to wonder what the community makes of Aaron's miraculous survival of the tragedy, as this is relayed constantly in off-screen expositional comments by various bystanders. The cliché scene where someone with a lot on their mind dries up in front of a karaoke audience, so often seen on screen but never in real life, makes a jaded outing here. (Who in real life would ever ask a grieving mother to get on stage and sing karaoke?). You do not have to have spent time in fishing communities such as Ullapool and Shetland to feel the lack of authenticity of setting, though it will jar all the more if you have. Similarly, if you have known grief, Kate Dickie's one-note moping around will not invite empathy. In terms of a mind becoming unhinged, the film does better, with George MacKay's performance occasionally evoking both fear and concern. But these moments are far too few, as the script seems unable to handle the task of developing rounded characters, and falls back instead on lazy invocation of myth to bind the story, what there is of it, together. I am all for eschewing linear narrative in favour of an immersive experience, but none of the imagery is particularly memorable. The climax places its bet on one striking image, but instead that is fudged in an extreme wide shot, suggesting the production design of the model was not up to the job of providing the emotional whump this film requires at its end. Ostensibly bold and experimental, this film instead is tame and unimaginative. Perhaps learning how to handle the basics of simple story, well-told, would have been a better move for these clearly uninspired filmmakers.