Film

Drunken sailors (and what to do with them)

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THE oldest boy band in the world? The fishermen of Port Isaac and Danny (Daniel May) on the right, being sold the idea of fame, fortune and glory. Photograph courtesy IMDb.

IF YOU ARE tired of all the spiteful whims, silly platitudes and bald one-upmanships that our social-media-inflamed world has become heir to, Fisherman’s Friends directed by Chris Foggin is a tonic with which to start the year. Featuring the inimitable David Hayman and the completely seductive landscape of Cornwall, it’s a yarn knitted around a true story, but one that in foraying around Cornish history, the dangerous life of a fisherman, superstition and the slippery notion of fame, offers a profound insight in what it really takes to be human in this world.

Resonating with the premises of last year’s Diane Keaton film, Poms, the story is a predictable one that fits comfortably in the hero myth propounded by Joseph Campbell, and you kind of know how things will transpire after you’ve watched the film’s trailer. But it’s a trailer which gives you a mere suggestion of the gorgeous texture, the old-fashioned values and the flow of the traditional shanty that brings it all to resounding and satisfying life.

Fans of Dominic Minghella’s runaway success series Dr Martin, starring Martin Clunes, will immediately recognise the fictional village of Port Wenn, where it is staged. In real life, Port Isaac is a Cornish village which has all the cute little cobbled avenues and byways, quaint pubs and fishing energy of both these seaside village tales.

It is here where you meet Danny (Daniel Mays). He’s the uncomfortable butt of the jokes of his high riding colleagues from London, who are music producers. They’re here at this cute little fishing village as wedding tourists and behave with all the disrespect that young men in a context other than their own are sometimes renowned for. The village soon puts them right, but Danny’s engagement with it all – and the ribald bullying from his friends – leads him in a completely different direction, which he proves unafraid to take.

You will need tissues to mop up the sad and happy moments that you encounter in this beautiful film and you may want to watch it more than once: underplayed by the media, with scant critical profiles, this piece is a real gem and something from  which you will leave the auditorium feeling that there is hope in the world, after all.

  • Fisherman’s Friends is directed by Chris Foggin and features a cast headed by Jade Anouka, Jason Bailey, Charlotte Baker, Ashley Bannerman, Christian Brassington, Vicki Butler, Noel Clarke, Ken Drury, Sandy Foster, Vahid Gold, Jo Hart, Richard Hainsworth, David Hayman, Peter Hicks, Eamonn Holmes, Jumayn Hunter, Dave Johns, Ruth Langsford, Ziggy Luz, Daniel Mays, Kevin Patrick McGarry, Tuppence Middleton, Meadow Nobrega, Jj Oburoh, Nathan Outlaw, James Purefoy, Vivienne Rose, Michael Scott, Julian Seager, Yuna Shin, Maggie Steed, Sam Swainsbury, Christopher Villiers, Mae Voogd, Oliver Wellington, Jo Whiey, Rory Wilton and Sarah Winter. Written by Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft and produced by Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft and James Spring, it features creative input by Rupert Christie (music), Simon Tindall (cinematography), Johnny Daukes (editing), Alex Johnson (casting), Hannah Purdy Foggin (production design) and Rebecca Hale (costumes). Release date, Ster Kinekor, Cinema Nouveau: September 13 2019.
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