Without the knowledge of their skipper (Gary Lewis), Sean (Martin Compston) and sexed-up crewmember Riley (Peter Mullan) agree to solve their financial problems by illegally transporting a group of Chinese immigrants into the UK. As conditions worsen below deck, Sean begins to realise that complicity in the seedy business of human trafficking offers more complications than catching fish ever could.
The atmosphere of life aboard the trawler at sea is persuasively described, Hudson choreographing several impressive sequences that capture the quiet desperation of life at sea. Among a capable cast, Compston gives a mature performance as Sean, caught between the practicalities of his father’s predicament and the opportunity to make a fast, immoral buck. Yet, while True North is a worthy attempt at raising awareness of immigration issues, the impact of Hudson’s film is undone by a compromised last act which glibly ducks the important social issues raised. (Eddie Harrison)
Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 14 Sep.