In his feature-length debut, writer/director Paul Wright’s vision in blue-gray and blood red is a psychological ride through the dark and twisted underbelly of grief’s many stages.
Named for a 19th century hymn written about the cruel beauty of an aquatic life, this ambitiously poetic, intensely devastating film opens with an ocean raging near a grieving Scottish town. George MacKay is masterful as Aaron, the traumatized sole survivor of a six-man fishing trip gone awry. Young Aaron clings to the delusional hope that his older brother, Michael, is still alive, and only sympathetic familial bonds tether him to sanity as his profound grief and the superstitious small town’s alienation propel him into madness.
Early in the film, Wright employs artistic collage and flashbacks to lay the groundwork; as the inner turmoil rages on, he uses fascinating lights and shadows paired with poignant dialogue. Kate Dickie plays Cathy, the mother of both Michael and Aaron, and her gut-wrenching performance is marked with strength in subtlety as she struggles to balance her own pain with a loving, but desperate, attempt to save her surviving child. Eerie, primal, and crushingly gorgeous, For Those in Peril haunts as it revamps a timeless tale of the devil inside.
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