Don't listen to the negative reviews
Fanciful, disturbing, and wildly original, it announces the arrival of a fresh, bold voice in American cinema.
Through painfully honest and emotional moments, the movie becomes irresistibly relatable
When I first saw this film, I really enjoyed it. Here's what I wrote:"I'm sure there are elements here that most people can relate to, the pressure of pride, recognition, approval, acceptance, what it means to be a man, to impress, how far you have to go to prove yourself, and why. The whole story works as a metaphor for many relationships I have known, where the limbo strains communications (literally here with a radio he chooses not to use as much for fear of 'being found out'). The editing and use of flashbacks to weave together an impression of his emotional state is a great use of cinema. Its like an analogy of imposter syndrome, taken to the extreme."I was so fascinated with the story, I read 'The Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst" and watched the documentary Deep Water. Then I saw The Mercy again. This time, the flatness of the film, the lack of effort, the pedestrian, workman hack-job sunday-afternoon-for-pensioners side of the writing/direction leaped out and made itself obvious. I couldn't believe I'd liked it so much before. Colin Firth is actually very miscast. He doesn't have the persuasive, determined, forceful arrogance of the real Crowhurst. Firth comes across as gentle and unassuming, not desperate for approval and recognition. The descent into madness is SO tepid in the film. On reading the book, there are so many conflicts, pressures and uncertainties that gradually crush Crowhursts mind, leading to him writing 25,000 words about becoming a cosmic being. Firth's version is asking for forgiveness and saying sorry, as though perfectly sane. Its not the real story by any means, and gives a horrid reflection of how affected Crowhurst actually was by his predicament. Unforgivably, its actually very boring on a rewatch. There is no depth or subtlety. The true story is so multifaceted and tense, its amazing to that the film is quite as flat as it is.
This was a role made for colin firth,with his low relaxed voice and correct dictation,he does a decent job,in a not too well written script and plot.
having read the book,seen documentaries,and other ffilms about this conning and misfortunate advetourous edison/tesla like characcter, i would have expected more. why did he cheat are meagerly told,and the faith of his family after he vanishes shoulld also have been better told.
the settings though are lovely,especially the part of teignmouth in the movie.its very authentic and well made. light an d editing are fine,the score are engaging.
SPOILER: Who doesn't love Firth! This is an excellent accounting of a failed quest for a dream.
When people disappear often it is with very little trace, the world and the person's family are left wondering what happened to them, where they were and whether they will ever see them again. This was not what happened in the case of Donald Crowhurst.On October 31st 1968 Crowhurst set out on a great expedition around the world, alone, on a boat as part of the Sunday Times' Golden Globe Competition. On July 10th 1969 his boat was found, unoccupied filled with log books written by Crowhurst describing his entire journey.The Mercy is the latest telling of this real story, there having been many books, documentaries, and films made prior to it. Directed by James Marsh, written by Scott Z. Burns and with Colin Firth in the lead role this film tells the tragedy from beginning to end, presenting Crowhurst's experience as well as his wife and children's and the tale being told to the general public by the media. Visually stunning, well acted and tear-jerking, I loved this film for its sincerity and quietness allowing us into the head of a man struggling through crisis.Firth felt perfectly cast. He brought amazing subtlety to the role, his ability to convey the internal thoughts of the character simply through facial expression and gait shows his phenomenal ability as an actor. He shows the break down of Crowhurst's British 'stiff upper lip' and descent into mental breakdown with constraint and melancholia. This powerful performance bought me to tears, greatly aided by clever slow reveal cinematography and eerie sound design.And that's something I have to talk about in this film; sound design. An often neglected and unrecognised art this film used sound and silence phenomenally. It created suspense, fear and empathy; as the film progressed both the sound and silence became deafening, adding immensely to our understanding of Crowhurst's mental state. Until this film I never new how maddening simply the sound of a pencil rolling back and forth across a table could be.If I have one gripe about this film it must be this; we have yet another example of the female lead feeling under-developed and two dimensional. Although Rachel Weisz's performance as Claire Crowhurst, Donald's wife, was emotional and, too an extent, felt realistic, she looked as if she'd been plucked off a 50's fashion magazine titled 'The housewife'. This is not a criticism of Weisz as an actress but more in the direction and writing. She felt like a cartoon-ish, cardboard cut out of a woman; dressed fashionably, young and beautiful and glossy. She did not feel like the wife of a failing business owner. Personally I feel the film should've spent more time on her developing her emotional depth and character arch making the story about the entire family, or they should've had even less of her, focusing solely on Crowhurst himself. It generally felt as if they couldn't decide if Claire (and a few other of the people back on land) were main characters, supporting roles or extras, so their balance of screen time was wrong.Despite this, one of my favourite things about this film is it's beautiful sense of reality in Crowhurst himself. There is too often in all films, but significantly in biopics or the beloved based-on-a-true-story films, a tendency to paint characters as all hero or all villain. Here however Firth portrays Crowhurst as a real man; loving, over-ambitious, determined and deeply flawed but not malicious, not conniving. A director could've chosen to paint this man, this non-fictitious man, it the light or good or evil but no. Marsh chose real. And with such a sensitive story to portray this felt the most appropriate voice to give the sailor and his family. He was a real man, struggling with his sense of self, put in the face of an adversity that he could not escape. He did not succeed and win the day, he did not purposely deceive them all as part of a horrible plot, he simply.. broke. And this film showed that amazingly well.