True North [Region 2]
Netherlands released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Writer/director Steve Hudson patterned his debut feature, True North, after classic Greek tragedy. This bleak and despairing drama concerns the Skipper (Gary Lewis) and Sean (Martin Compston), a father and son from the U.K. who co-pilot a small fishing boat called Providence. Though the Skipper remains aboard, Sean inherits all financial responsibility from his dad. But times are hard and the catch so inadequate that it cannot sustain the men. Terrified of being regarded as a failure by his father, Sean devises a dangerous scheme: he and deckhand Riley (Peter Mullan) will illegally pull Chinese immigrants from the far side of the North Sea while the Skipper sleeps, collect money from the stowaways, hide them in the ship's hold, and deposit them in northern England. All goes according to plan until Sean realizes that they must locate some actual fish to mislead the British authorities. Meanwhile, the Chinese passengers begin to waste away below deck, while a storm and other unforeseen catastrophes threaten the lives and safety of everyone aboard. The picture subsequently builds to a devastating conclusion. Steven Robertson and Angel Li co-star. ...True North
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The plot is in need of better editing for film (especially since you knew something was off, with the little girl not going down that hatch with the others). The parts that act as filler -- the sailor in the port and brothel deal -- although real in the sense that's a sailor's life, it really didn't fit this movie. It's distracting. Furthermore, there's no explanation why the cook is the way he is, nor the captain. Things like that are left at the dock in Belgium.
It would've been better if there were flashback scenes to tell the story of the "cargo" to really put a face on the price of human trafficking. The ending tried to show that no one isn't affect, nor not responsible, of the overall price paid in selling humans.
4 stars for an interesting mix of storytelling styles from both Scotland and Japan in one movie, too.