with Kate Dickie.
Following the screening of director Paul Wright’s impressive debut feature film I asked him if when he wrote the story he had based any of it on the Solway Harvester disaster, a scallop dredger from Kirkcudbright Scotland which sank off the coast of the Isle of Man in heavy storms on 11th January 2000 loosing all seven crew members, as his film had brought this terrible tragedy to mind. His answer was that he knew nothing about this sinking until after he had completed the screenplay. Later when talking to Kate Dickie, who comes from Newton Stewart, she told me it was her that brought the similarity between the real life incident and the movie to Wrights attention.
Kate with Michael Smiley and a young 'Aaron'
Working along side his brother Michael on the fishing boats had been a dream for Aaron. When he finally gets his wish tragedy strikes and the boat claims the lives of five crewmembers including his brother. The only survivor is Aaron who cannot remember what happened. He refuses to believe that his brother and the other crew members are really dead and that some how the local legend of the sea monster, that was told to him as a young boy, has come true and if he can get back to sea he can, some how, rescue them and bring them back alive. Gradually the village folk turn against him, their animosity towards him driving him to feel ever more alienated. Suffocated by his own anguish the only support he gets is from his mother Cathy and Michaels grieving girlfriend Jane.
Originally premiering at this year’s Cannes Film Festival its UK premiere was the first time most of the cast had actually seen the film. Also in attendance were families from the coastal fishing village of Gourdon in Aberdeenshire where the film was shot on location.
The fractured narrative and the various film formats added to the darkness that’s always involved with the mysteries and the power of the sea. Images, the director stated, was his main motivation along with the story’s he heard as a child living by the sea. Mention must be made of the films young lead George MacKay whose portrayal of the anguish and torment that possesses Aaron is powerfully believable and the backbone of Wrights movie with Kate Dickie giving her normal assured performance as Aarons mother. The premiere's Q&A finished with a promise by Scotsman Paul Wright that he was more than happy to continue to make films in his home country but with the skill he has shown in making this movie the attraction could be there for him to move further a field to practice his filmmaking trade: lets hope he doesn’t.