Ian Sellar’s first feature, shot in the windswept Orkney Islands, north of Scotland, is a film about childhood which moves very slowly to a quite moving climax.
Central character is young Peter who lives with his mother and fisherman grandfather; he’s not certain where his father is, but imagines him to be a ship’s captain. Much of the film is taken up with Peter’s observations: family scenes, scenes in a church and at school, the discovery of a stranded whale. Then the father returns, and it seems he’d simply tired of island life and gone to the mainland.
The evocative background of the Orkneys is a major asset to the film, as is the unaffected performance of young Gordon R. Strachan, an Orkney schoolboy, as Peter. Professional players, like Ray McAnally as the grandfather and David Hayman as the local priest, work generously alongside the youthful tyro.