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The Mercy - Film Review

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by GiGi GMV (subscribe)
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A Dreamer's Voyage
Please note this review contains spoilers.

The Mercy is a 2018 British biographical drama film. The stars are Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz and the director is James Marsh, who had everyone in tears in The Theory of Everything. All the pedigree components are there to make this movie a big success. However, this movie feels slightly flat and not as heart-tugging as expected.

It is based on the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst, who competed in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968 and his subsequent fraudulent attempts to cover up his failure. Crowhurst later lost his pride, his integrity, his mind and then his life in this yacht race.

Cinematically speaking, Crowhurst's psychological dimensions should be the highlight, starting out with grand ambition, financial desperation, loneliness on high seas and human defeat to the power of a disillusioned mind. But the audience cannot engage with these powerful core emotions because Marsh directs in a rather restrained symbolic manner. A more direct approach depicting Crowhurst's inner dialogues and his gradual madness would have yield more impact.

Personally, I did not like how Marsh tried to make Crowhurst a hero and then an anti-hero - "Last week you were selling hope, now you are selling blame!" Crowhurst's misjudgment about the disparity between his mighty ambition and his limited capabilities resulted in a broken family and who end up paying for the financial burdens of this failed venture.

The Mercy is a full-scale adaptation, with a fairly lavish BBC budget, both Firth and Weisz's performances are reliably solid and well-acted.

The Mercy is due for general release on 8th March 2018.
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