Once the pride of a North Sea trawler fleet, ‘The Annie’ struggles to survive in a tide of apathy and neglect. When tragedy threatens her future, the crew strive to define not only themselves, but their way of life.
Growing up visiting family living in Scarborough for Summer holidays, it made me feel quite nostalgic seeing the place I know so well on screen, but at the same time it was a real pleasure to be able to be taken out to the open sea, somewhere I haven’t explored. I think people get caught up with the candyfloss and ice cream, forgetting that the boats in the harbour aren’t just there for display. People live and breathe the cold, grey waters, and to be able to see their side of Scarborough really was interesting. So many films have been shot in the seaside town in past years, including the award-winning Saint Maud, really showing that the UK has so many beautiful locations on offer that it’d be such a shame to waste them.
Instead of bright lights of a funfair and deep blue waters calling us in, we are welcomed to a gritty and dark version of the town. I thought the film was colour graded brilliantly, yellow streetlamps casting small amounts of hope down onto the shadows of people below. The sea and the people who sail it are painted as quite sad people, living and working without great happiness. This is reflected in the story too, giving us an insight into the true thoughts and feelings of fishermen. With things like Brexit and large companies changing the way traditional tasks and jobs are done, people may often feel like every day they go to work may be their last. There often isn’t support or understanding with working hours and money, but also with mental health. People expect tuna sandwiches to be available for their lunch, but don’t often think of the people who helped to put it there. I think this film beautifully captured all of these emotions, using death to heighten the senses but not take away from the feelings in the story.
Starring two people who used to work at sea, The Tide makes sure to stay truthful yet sensitive in its storytelling and performances. Written by and starring Liam Thomas, he says the film is about “place, identity and mental health within a community fighting for its very existence”. It’s based on a story that his brother told him, and you can see how family really is an important point in the film, whether it’s blood or life connections. Even though everyone had different lives, they all had fishing and being at sea which pulled them together into this tight knit group. Starring as Skipper, we have Francis Magee playing such a strong and important role, using his past fisherman knowledge and the script to help him create a person with depth and importance.
I think you can watch this film and leave it in two different ways. The first being hopeful for anyone feeling down and lost, that they will end up where they’re meant to be, loved and at peace. The second is the want and need to keep this sort of conversation going, that everyone’s mental health fluctuates, but that whatever job or life we’re in, we shouldn’t have to go through anything alone. This tough, incredibly performed short film is definitely one to watch.