Film Review: The Mercy

James Marsh’s The Mercy offers strong performances and decent storytelling. The only real fault is that the film eschews the most fascinating aspect of the story.

When he hears about the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, Donald Crowhurst decides to take part. The only problem is that he lacks the experience and vehicle to do so, being an amateur sailor. Putting his business and house on the line, Donald sets sail…

The story of Donald Crowhurst taps into the David and Goliath trope with an amateur sailor wishing to beat the odds in a round the world race. The Mercy functions on two main levels; Crowhurst’s ambition and his journey, and the story of those left on shore. James Marsh directs the focus on protagonist. It is a story of trials, mostly of the main character but also of his wife. The film takes artistic licence with Donald’s time at sea, focusing on the isolation felt by the protagonist at being alone for so long.

For all it’s earnestness, The Mercy does not pack that much of an emotional punch. Viewers will no doubt sympathise with Clare and to a certain extent protagonist. Marsh wisely shows flaws of protagonist; this makes the character more convincing. Yet it may not help viewers to fully engage with him.

For those who do not know about the race and Crowhurst, the story takes an interesting turn. In the second half of the film, there is a shift in mood as necessitated by the narrative. Marsh aims for a level of tragedy which the film does not quite reach. Whilst some reasoning behind Donald’s decision-making is revealed, there is not as much focus on the trickery of the protagonist. And this is the most interesting element of the true-life story.

Colin Firth delivers a great performance as Donald Crowhurst. He is supported by Rachel Weisz very ably, albeit in a bit of a thankless role. David Thewlis is also good. The Mercy‘s various parts are admirable. Yet overall, the film does not quite hit the spot.

Previews: Peter Rabbit Featurette, Ferdinand, More!

Lots to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a new Peter Rabbit featurette, Ferdinand, Smallfoot, and more…

Peter Rabbit Featurette

This Peter Rabbit featurette wisely introduces the wider cast of the film. With James Corden receiving bad publicity recently, Sony uses this feature to shift focus to other cast members. Corden is joined by Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Domhnall Gleeson in this big-screen adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s work. Peter Rabbit will be released on 16th March 2018.

Ferdinand Clip

This is a clip from upcoming animated adventure Ferdinand. The film is about a bull who is mistaken for a dangerous beast, and taken from his home. The voice cast includes John Cena, Kate Kate McKinnon, and Gina Rodriguez. Ferdinand will hit the big screen on 9th December 2017.

The Greatest Showman Featurette

This featurette for The Greatest Showman focuses on Zac Efron, and what attracted him to work on the film. The Greatest Showman is an original musical about P.T. Barnum and the birth of show business. Hugh Jackman leads the cast, and is joined by Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya. The Greatest Showman will be released in cinemas on 26th December 2017.

Smallfoot Poster

Here is the new poster for Smallfoot. The film is an animated adventure about a yeti who finds something he didn’t think existed – a human. The film is directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, director of Over the Hedge. Smallfoot features the voices of Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Common, and Danny DeVito. The film is set for release on 5th October 2018.

The Mercy Trailer

The Mercy is director James Marsh’s (The Theory of Everything) latest film. The film tells the true story of an amateur sailor in the late 1960s, who hopes to be the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping. The film stars Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, and David Thewlis. The Mercy will be released on 9th February 2018.