Home > Adventure >

The Mercy

The Mercy (2018)

November. 30,2018
| Adventure Drama

In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, an amateur sailor, endangers the fate of his family and business, and his own life, blinded by his ambition to compete in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, attempting to become the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the world without making any stopover.


Watch Trailer


Similar titles



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.


That guy did not deserve to have a film celebrating him and the "challenge" Like the air drama Sully, great story but not enough material for a film but a documentary only.In this case the man was not endearing either. The directors or writers failed here. Not impressed. They ignored the real storyOh, and I like the star, but he was horribly miscast in this film. He is now either too old or terribly over acting to pull off a role like this.


It's easy to see what attracted Firth, Weisz, Thewlis et al to the movie.It is very 1960s and it captures the period well. It's also a very interesting tale.The main problem probably lies with the direction or possible the editing. Many scenes are drawn out to the point where you want to reach for the Fast Forward button. They're aiming for tension and suspense but it just doesn't work and makes viewing tedious.Another problem is that once you've got the gist of the story, most of the subsequent events are a repetition of what's gone before so you've both repetition and tediousness. Okay, it's not quite as bad as that might make it sound and the actors elevate it to watchable status.If you like tales of the sea or the actors, give it a whirl but you won't be missing much if you decide not to.


I had the privilege of seeing this film during a sneak peek, a week before it opened in Germany, and was pleasantly surprised. It follows the true story, sometimes only as well as we can guess, of the late Donald Crowhurst and his ill-fated sail-boat voyage around the world without stopping. I went in with no prior knowledge of the film whatsoever, and this is the preferred state in which one wants to be in, if one wants to appreciate or enjoy this film. It starts slow. And it is, over all, a very slow movie. If you prefer quickly-paced films with action, or even quick-witted dramas with lightning-fast wit packed into every line, then this is not your movie. This is a movie for the bored. Perhaps for the people with time to spare and a hankering for show-stopping but, in the end, unsatisfying acting. Overall, this movie is unsatisfying. Not because of the production. Not because of the acting. Not because of the music or the directing. All of those attributes are artfully executed. The film leaves one hanging, with no flavor left on the tongue, because of the true story on which it is based. Crowhurst commits suicide and the family is left in the lurch. It is displayed to us sympathetically, but not satisfyingly. It is shown to us with reasons and circumstances evenly conveyed. It is performed sublimely, all actors concerned, but still not cathartically. It is difficult to ascribe the perfect adjectives to this film, and it's harder to form the perfect judgment. Which was obviously the problem the filmmakers had when making this movie. We are left hanging. Not in the plot, not in the story, not even emotionally, but we are left hanging on the verdict. What was this film about? What was the meaning? What is the Mercy? I suppose when looking at events that actually happened, it is difficult to attach perfect meaning, even a perfect structure. But that's what a movie is supposed to do. I certainly didn't pay for a ticket to have a question put before me, not answered but told, in empty words, that I received an answer. Judge for yourselves, but to me this movie was a tasteless wafer of the highest quality, handcrafted with excellence, but in the end, terribly stale.