The crew of a bankrupt Scottish trawler turn to smuggling illegal immigrants over the stormy waters of the North Sea.



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Credited cast:
The Skipper
The Cook
Angel Li ...
Su Li
Hark Bohm ...
Li Jun Wang ...
Chinese Farmer
Ren Hao ...
Shi Ming ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tutu Babatunde ...
African girl
Anna Breuer ...
Maurice Byrne ...
Yvonne Costello ...
Ning Ning Gho ...


The skipper of the Scottish trawler PD-100 has worked for more than thirty-two years to buy his fishing vessel but is bankrupt and near to lose his ship to the bank. While in the port of Ostend, Belgium, his first mate and son Sean accepts a lot of money to smuggle Chinese illegal immigrants to Scotland to keep the trawler with his father. The crewman Riley helps him in the scheme, and they hide the group in a store below the boatswain store. However, a Chinese teenagers hides in the engine room, stealing food and leaving money in the galley. The cook, who is a little slow and has issues with sex, finds the stowaway and helps her. Sean decides to stay longer in the North Sea to get catch and avoid problems with customs, leaving the immigrants in the most subhuman conditions. When one of the Chinese dies, despair is triggered leading the crew to tragic actions. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An unflinching thriller dealing with the horrendous consequences of human trafficking.


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

14 September 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A la deriva  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Carlyle was originally cast in the role of Riley. Shortly after shooting began, Carlyle's father, Joseph, passed away, and grief-stricken, the actor resigned from the film. See more »


Somethin' Stupid
Written by C. Carson Parks
Performed by Rick Cardinali
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User Reviews

Best film I've seen this year.
25 February 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

True North hits the ground running. It's never less than engrossing and the performances are uniformly excellent.

What sounds like a derivative thriller: A crew of fishermen facing bankruptcy decide to smuggle Chinese immigrants from mainland Europe to Scotland, could easily have traded on clichés for it's effects. But writer/director Steve Hudson creates an all together more complex portrait of what essentially decent people will do in desperate circumstances.

Martin Compton shows a maturity and stoicism in his performance.

Peter Mullens character has the greatest arc; as an ex-con who lives his life at a superficial level to avoid engaging in anything deeply who has his humanity awakened by the plight of the immigrants stored in the belly of the boat.

Gary Lewis quietly exudes the desperation of man whose working life is based around daily failure.

Steven Robertson is excellent as the uptight cook from the Western Isles who is terrified of his own sexuality.

But the real revelation for me was first time actress Angel Li whose facial expressions are pages of dialogue in themselves.

My criticism of the film is not in the story itself but the state of the Scottish film industry with again, another Scottish story being shot predominantly in Ireland.

In closing, I just hope True North gets the distribution deal that it deserves. It will probably be marketed as a thriller but it is so much more than this. Go see it.

29 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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