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Mauro Herce, in his third work as director, returns to the sea following Dead Slow Ahead (2015) but this time there is no dialogue. There are similarities however. This time it’s Christmas instead of New Year but with the same recurring theme of confinement and solitude in the darkness, all against a background of a distant, throbbing engine.
The almost homely setting of the opening scene, seated around the table, invites us to think of a family gathering. The camera then cuts to take in the rest of the room; more men, now standing against a grey wall and a backdrop of ship-loading posters. We’ve arrived. Confined to one room.
These detainees look for a way of escape and find it; in karaoke. This film is a myriad of opposites; silence and song, light and darkness, day and night. All are included within the confines of this room. The only constant is the clock, counting time, and time, as we know, is the nemesis of all prisoners.
We barely get the chance to escape these four walls – reminding us a little of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) – yet the final cut allows us to step outside, take a deep breath and let our eyes wander to the distant horizon.