Winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, Rodd Rathjen’s powerful and hard-hitting drama has 14-year-old Cambodian lad Chakra (very impressive first-timer Sarm Heng) at its centre. Fed up with toiling for free for his father, he is seduced into going to sea with the promise of a decent job—only to find himself a slave on a Thai fishing trawler commanded by a brutal and murderous captain (Thanawut Kasro). Realising that, like his fellow slaves, he is doomed unless he somehow escapes, he begins to plan… It is estimated that up to 200,000 males, many of them mere boys, are currently enslaved in the Thai fishing industry, and Rathjen’s debut feature pulls no punches in sketching out their grim lives while serving as both a message movie and a taut thriller.
‘Gripping… impressive… That Rathjen was inspired by the accounts of real-life survivors gives the film its raw authenticity, forceful pacing, and moral clarity.’
—Jessica Kiang, Variety