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Another biopic that sacrifices analysis of character for emotional tension.
jake-young9615 May 2018
Colin Firth takes lead in this incredible story based on true events of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst's attempt to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly on his self-designed trimaran, as part of the Sunday Times Golden Globe race. Under the pressure of a publicity agent hyping his story to exceeding proportions, expecting sponsors and the self-applied noose of possible debt should he not finish the race, mounts the struggle of Donald Crowhurst to the highest proportions.

Giving this movie its backbone is the heavy emotional weight throughout, director James Marsh turns an otherwise quite controversial person and event into a sympathetic and quite touching story. It's a story that today needs to be told more, one of the pressures that men face and their inability to talk out about them. It's this coupled with the terrific pacing and structure of The Mercy that allows the audience to connect to Donald Crowhurst, as a dreamer and as somebody who had misfortunes that he was unable to deal with alone. It's only reinforced by the excellent performances given by Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth, that add a much-needed soulful and human touch to the film and grounding it for the audience, whereas a misplaced casting choice might have resulted in a far less captivating story.

However, while the story is one that is sure to hold a sympathetic gaze, what the film fails to achieve and execute properly is demonstrating how truly isolated and consumed with pressure Donald Crowhurst was. The film needed more time, this would have allowed further scenes of Donald on the boat so that much like The Life of Pi or even Castaway the audience could have tapped into that isolation. Instead, the film edits back and forth the boat and Crowhurst's family, this does, of course, keep the emotional tension high but dramatically it is weak, never buying into Crowhurst's isolated madness it puts the film on a weak footing. This might not have been a huge issue if the story's focal point was elsewhere but it's not, the most crucial part of the story is the pressure and isolation that Donald faced on the boat, it sacrifices a highly layered look into Donald Crowhurst for its emotional tension. The film needed less time reinforcing emotional backdrop and more time heightening the dramatic point of the story.

The Mercy is a film that depending on what you came to see, you will enjoy it more or less. The emotional backdrop is orchestrated perfectly, never missing a beat and tapping the audience into the supportive and hearty theme but the dramatic focal point of the film is underplayed and does not do much in the way of aiding the audience in its comprehending of Donald Crowhurst.
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Why watch the dramatisation when you can see the real story?
fm-953-4633455 June 2018
Watch the doco on the man and the race here:

Way better than this. This really captures nothing of what it is like to be on the water alone. It is interesting we idolise the failure when the heroes in the race are so amazing. I feel sorry for the man, but what a crazy undertaking to take with so little experience. No one is really capturing what the real people are like.

The doco is amazing. I've watched so many times because the characters themselves are so incredibly different in themselves.

FYI, in this first race, it took about 9-10 months. Today, the record is shy of 43 days. This is usually contested every 4 years with the Vendee Globe, but there are always independent challenges. Truly amazing.
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A sad tale slowly told
iantrader5 June 2018
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.
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I didn't know the real-life story and I'm glad I didn't; it's a well-told, surprisingly moving bio-pic.
Pjtaylor-96-13804410 February 2018
Though it is highly speculative and certain implications it heavily makes may be either irresponsible or insensitive because of this, 'The Mercy (2018)' has the advantage of an interesting mystery that affords a certain dramatic license simply because of the perspective it portrays. It represents a rather captivating and ultimately quite tragic tale of man vs wild and, perhaps more acutely, man vs both our inner demons as well as those of the ones we leave by the shore. I didn't know the real-life story and I'm glad I didn't, because it certainly goes in ways I didn't expect. The pacey first act is fast, fluid and fantastically well-told, even if its montage style is sometimes slightly tiring, but the picture always knows when to drop its anchor so that the slower moments can hammer home the rather blind-siding sad soul at the heart of this surprisingly moving flick. 7/10
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The Moving Mercy
TheLittleSongbird24 April 2018
With such an incredible story that is incredibly emotional and inspiring, a trailer that really grabbed the attention and made me really want to see it and a very good cast (Colin Firth, David Thewlis, Rachel Weisz), 'The Mercy' had a lot in its favour and a lot going for it. So the potential in it being a good film was enormous.

On the most part, 'The Mercy' is a good, very good even, film, its best elements brilliant. Mostly it does justice to this astonishing story if not quite fully and does a lot right. It does live up to its trailer and the cast are far from wasted. 'The Mercy' also is not quite perfect and could have been even better than it was. Nothing is done terribly, far from it, there are a few elements though that could have been done stronger.

Where 'The Mercy' most excels is the acting and emotional impact. It is a very moving film (there are scenes where a couple of tissues is in order) with a rootable protagonist, presented as compellingly real and not neatly black and white. There are gripping and tense scenes on the sea, it really is an emotional story with a soul, and its restraint rather than going into overblown mode was really appreciated. Found myself inspired by it too.

Colin Firth wrenches the gut and brings tears to the eye in a powerful performance. Rachel Weisz's role was a little underwritten, but she is charming and affecting with her most emotive dialogue ringing true. Also found David Thewlis brilliantly cast.

'The Mercy' is exquisitely filmed with the use of locations well done, the sea is like a character of its own, likewise with the boat. The music is haunting and understated and it's all slickly directed and thoughtfully scripted. The film doesn't feel dull generally with a fluidly and fast paced first act with particularly compelling storytelling.

However, 'The Mercy' is not without issues. Not everybody is going to take kindly to some of the speculation and not so sensitive assumptions, particularly in the latter stages. The final act is not as strong as the rest of film, it's emotionally captivating but not as tightly paced, as dimensional, as detailed and not all of it felt resolved.

Sometimes the non-on the sea scenes could have been more developed and Weisz's character is underwritten and not as well used as she could have been (as said Weisz's performance is great having said that).

Overall, good film and nearly great, with a few tweaks it would have been the latter. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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smooth acting,shallow story
ops-525356 June 2018
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.
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Liked it, then hated it, is a wasted opportunity that could have been a lot better.
rabbitmoon26 June 2018
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.
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Why do we keep romanticising selfish men?
Amonute-Matoaka27 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Picture this: a woman leaves her three children and husband behind, she gambles all their money, their house, their business, on an impossible task for which she is unqualified and hilariously under prepared. Then, realising she will never full fill what was promised she commits suicide, leaving her family to deal with the aftermath of her failings, and to face life without her.

Who would be telling that woman's story? Would anyone try to understand the workings of her mind, or what led her to make these choices? Would she ever become anything more than a cautionary tale for women out there, who ever dare to dream of being more than wives and mothers?

I had never heard the story of Donald Crowhurst before, and after reading the synopsis of this film, I did not research the Times Golden Globe before actually watching the film. After the story began, even though I was finding this man's attempt to compete absurd, and couldn't understand why the people around him weren't being more upset about his decision, I assumed he would eventually be the victorious underdog. Therefore, the general joyousness of his departure seemed in tune with the cheerful and relaxed atmosphere that characterised the first part of the film.

Rachel Weisz was brilliant. Even though the script would have you believe this man was a tragic hero, her face whenever she was on camera, was telling the true tale, from the very beginning. Pain, fear, anxiety. So many women have been in this woman's shoes. Left behind by impossible men, who think their lives are too little for them, who think they deserve that something more, who ache to leave their mark on the world, and don't think much of anyone else. Nonetheless she was there, supporting, holding up the fort while he was away, fending for the family and in the end, suffering alone, and picking up the mess. As far as I'm concerned, that noble woman was the true hero of the story.

Colin Firth also made an admirable effort, but he was far too level-headed for the most part. Someone in that situation would have been more tense, a lot less in control. In all honesty I couldn't help myself but feel sorry for this man, all these months on a boat alone, understanding the horrible consequences of a ridiculous decision. In the end, he took the easy way out, and that's as far as my pity went. If the film had left the blame for the utter ruin of the family to him, we, as viewers, would have found ourselves feeling very much ashamed, for caring for such a man's story.

The film's attempt to shift the consequences of his actions on to the press, was ridiculous, but made for a good story, which I suppose is why this is actually a decent film, about a quite pitiful man, and his poor struggling wife. It would have made a much better story, if it had been told from her perspective. The harsh reality of her everyday life vs the tragic beauty of her condemned belief and hope in her husband's attempt at achieving greatness.
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Dramatic but interesting and kind of unexpected
Alexander_Blanchett15 August 2018
A fine follow up for James Marsh after his Oscar nominated "The Theory of Everything" This film is about a amateur sailor who hits the sea because he takes part in a competition to become the fast sailor to cross the sea on a boat ... If you expect a survival drama a la "All is Lost" you will be mistaken. Sure the film is also about survival.... physically but also mentally because it challenges its protagonist with a lot of moralic questions and situations. In fact the protagonist does it himself. The film is about overcoming your mistakes and if you are able to face them or not. Colin Firth is really good in the leading role and his casting was quite inspired. He gives one of his very best post Oscar performances. I also love how he developed. A truly interesting character for a great actor. Rachel Weisz was also fine, but often the material she was given to, did not justify her great talent. It was a rather seconary role that at least allowed her to show off at the end. The film had many nice shots, a really great score by late Johan Johannsson who delivered one of his last scores to that film. A great and rather unexpected ending (if you dont know the true story). Highly recommended to those who enjoy good acting cinema.
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"With shroud, and mast, and pennon fair"
bob-the-movie-man16 February 2018
It's 1968. Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"; "Magic in the Moonlight"), an amateur sailor and entrepreneur based in Teignmouth, Devon, is inspired by listening to single-handed round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and does a a crazy thing. He puts his business, his family's house and his own life on the line by entering the Sunday Times single-handed round-the-world yacht race. It's not even as if he has a boat built yet!

Lending him the money, under onerous terms, are local businessman Mr Best (Ken Stott, "The Hobbit") and local newspaper editor Rodney Hallworth (David Thewlis, "Wonder Woman", "The Theory of Everything"). With the race deadline upon him, Crowhurst is pressed into sailing away from his beloved wife Clare (Rachel Weisz, "Denial", "The Lobster") and young family in a trimaran that is well below par.

But what happens next is so ludicrous that it makes a mockery of whoever wrote this ridiculous work of fiction. Ah... but wait a minute... it's a true story!

It is in fact such an astonishing story that this is a film that is easy to spoil in a review, a fact that seems to have passed many UK newspaper reviewers by (aarrrggghhh!!). So I will leave much comment to a "spoiler section" on The trailer is also best avoided: this is honestly a film worth seeing cold.

What can I say that is spoiler-free then?

Firth and Weisz make a well-matched couple, and the rest of the cast is peppered with well-known faces from British film and (particularly) TV: Andrew Buchan and Jonathan Bailey (from "Broadchurch"); Mark Gatiss ("Sherlock", "Out Kind of Traitor"); Adrian Schiller ("Victoria"; "Beauty and the Beast").

The first part of the film is well executed and excellent value for older viewers. 60's Devon is warm, bucolic and nostalgic. In fact, the film beautifully creates the late 60's of my childhood, from the boxy hardwood furniture of the Crowhurst's house to the Meccano set opened at Christmas time.

Once afloat though, the film is less successful at getting its sea-legs. The story is riveting, but quite a number of the scenes raise more questions than they answer. As stress takes hold it is perhaps not surprising that there are a few fantastical flights of movie fancy. But some specific elements in Scott Burns' script don't quite gel: a brass clock overboard is a case in point. What? Why?

And it seems to be light on the fallout from the race: there is a weighty scene in the trailer between Best and Hallworth that (unless I dozed off!) I don't think appeared in the final cut, and I think was needed.

All in all, I was left feeling mildly dissatisfied: a potentially good film by "Theory of Everything" director James Marsh that rather goes off the rails in the final stretch.

This was a time where morality and honour were often rigidly adhered to - British "stiff upper lip" and all that - and seemed to carry a lot more weight than they do today. So some of the decisions in the film might mystify younger viewers. But for the packed older audience in my showing then it was a gripping, stressful, but far from flawless watch.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to the film's composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who shockingly died last week at the ridiculously young age of 48. His strange and atmospheric music for films including "The Theory of Everything", "Sicario" and (particularly) "Arrival" set him on the path to be a film composing great of the future. Like James Horner, another awful and untimely loss to the film music industry.

(For the full graphical review - and a spoiler section for those who have seen the film - please visit Thanks).
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Beautiful, painful, quiet, and real.
annaebithell12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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All the ingredients for a great movie, but falls short
seshy23 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I know the story told here well, I've read a couple of books including 'A Voyage for Madmen' which is excellent and also saw the previous documentary film at the cinema called 'Deep Water' from about ten years ago, which I thought told the story more compellingly using witness interviews and actual footage and audio recordings of Donald and Clare Crowhurst themselves. Oh, and also Teignmouth where most of this film is set, is my hometown.

This is a tragic and moving story in my opinion. The director and the cast are top drawer and all put in good performances, especially Rachel Weisz - a tower of strength within a family where she is the glue that holds them all together - yet her fragility is just below the surface. You glimpse it from time to time, but she is basically a strong and stoical woman. The cinematography and the sets/locations are good, and the pacing is good. However, (and it is a big however), there is a missing spark. I think they needed to add more edge and suspense to the events that occur towards the end of the film -what happens to Nigel Tetley, how Crowhurst's boat is discovered and the fall out that follows back at home, as the truth is pieced together. Basically there are opportunities throughout the story to make it more gripping and compelling, and those opportunities were not fully grasped by the filmmakers. Instead, you're just left with a long downward story arc. The last half hour of the film is largely filled with sorrow and regret of all those involved - and that's how the film ends.

The release speaks for itself - I saw virtually no promotional interviews or appearances on TV and Radio leading up to the film's opening a couple of weekends ago. A studio movie where the two leads are oscar winners, and no promotion of any description? I saw this film at my local multiplex the weekend of release. It was a saturday early evening and there were about 15 of us in an auditorium for 200??

A shame, and somewhat of a missed opportunity when you have the talent that is on display here at your disposal. Read the book I mentioned above and watch Deep Water, This film could have been in the league of ' The Theory of Everything' or 'A Beautiful Mind' if the writer and director has brought a different approach to the source material.
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A sad story, but told better elsewhere....
preferredfutures25 December 2018
....the documentary "Deep Water" does a better job, it's worth finding.
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Drama about hobby becoming an obsession. Decent viewing.
kaptenvideo-8987516 March 2018
A heart wants what it wants. It's the end of the 1960's, and this solid family man (Colin Firth) wants to take his Sunday hobby of sailing to the ultimate level, designing his own boat and travelling around the world in six months - alone, as part of the contest.

Also starring, Rachel Weisz as the man's wife, David Thewlis, and, well, a whole lot of ocean. Based on a true story, by the way.

The central part of "The Mercy" is watching Firth's character Donald Crowhurst defying dangers and both physical and psychological hardships of sailing the ocean, having to rely only on his hands, wits and hope that nothing critical breaks down because the contest won't allow making stops or having breaks during the world travelling tour.

A worn-down man sulking on a boat in the middle of nowhere might seem like a boring idea for a feature-length movie, but somehow the authors have managed to get it right, so it turns out to be quite a gripping.

What was essentially a exhausting and monotonous journey where the main activities were shovelling out the water and trying to keep the whole thing from drowning, is enriched by portraying the gradual mental eroding of Crowhurst.

Colin Firth is known as versatile actor and you can bet your sweet bottom that he does a wonderful job at conveying the depression, loneliness, exhaustion and general distress of his character, so he is able to command our attention whenever he's on screen.

And all that is his usual reserved and delicate way, living the character, not acting it.

It's easily an awards worthy performance although at this time it's way too early to predict his chances of getting an Oscar nomination.

The same goes, by the way, to Rachel Weisz who has created a a surprisingly soulful and charming supporting role from what surely must have been a mostly decorative one on paper.

She does not have much screen time actually, but it gets compensated by a powerful speech in the end. A true Oscar moment, as they would say.

Parallel to Crowhurst's journey, we see bits from the life of people who wait for his return, including the family - but also his promoter trying to earn him some money for the expensive trip that threatens to bankrupt the whole family.

This turns out to be the movie's weakness which, while not quite ruining the dramatic impact of the whole thing, does not actually expand or strengthen the main story in a meaningful way.

It's okay in short doses - if only for variety's sake - but its emotional "nutritive value" falls flat compared to what's happening on the sea.

The director James Marsh's previous project, "The Theory of Everything", suffers from the same deficiency. It's pretty and watchable but he should have trimmed the final act.

That's all I wanted to say about this one. "The Mercy" is pretty good but its shallower side holds it back a notch. I am happy to have seen it but it will not linger on memory for long. Although I did like the deeper message that with grandiose plans comes a danger of falling into prison of one's own ego.

We have seen many instances of at least two similar-themed movies released in the same period of time. It also happens here, with "The Mercy" preceded by premiere of "Crowhurst" by almost five months, although the latter got a proper cinema release in the U.K. a few weeks later.
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A Sad Tale of The Seas
Pairic18 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The Mercy: A tale of an ameteur sailor who took on an endeavour which was beyond him and resulted him in perpetuating a great hoax for months but ended with his disappearance and likely suicide. Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) was determined to enter into and to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968. But his experience was restricted to inland waterways. Undaunted he designs his own yacht for the competition.

Borrowing money from local businessman Stanley Best (Ken Stott) and retaining Rodney Hallworth (David Thewlis) as a publicist his plans are set in motion. But delays and problems occur. He is pressured into setting off before his boat is ready by Best and Hallworth. Once at sea things start to fall apart as his yacht is unseaworthy and he makes little progress. But the grasping Best holds the titles to Crowhurst's business and house and he will lose everything if he abandons the race. Rachel Weisz plays Clare Crowhurst, the wife who is left to try and keep the family together while her sailor husband sails around the world. The pressures, financial and psychological also take a toll on her but she resolutely supports Donald.

Crowhurst starts to lie about the distance he has travelled and this is made worse by Hallworth further embellishing the claims. As he gets caught in his his web of lies, Donald begins to despair and sinks into depression, eventually adrift in the horse latitudes amid the Sargasso Sea. He hallucinates, seeing his family and even hearing horses on deck.

While the outcome of the film is known, director James Marsh and writer Scott burns keep the tension going as the tale unfolds and nothing seems to be inevitable. The rage and calm of sea is beautifully captured by cinematographer Eric Gautier and editors Jinx Godfrey & Joan Sobel. 8/10.
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The Mercy: A story of a mid-life crisis?
brankovranjkovic12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
BBC made film based on fact.

Donald Crowhurst, who was married with 4 children, and an amature weekend sailor, attempted a single handed, non-stop, around the world boat race.

In my opinion pushing boundaries is admirable ... BUT ...

I couldn't help thinking whether a responsible bloke would really abandon their family and attempt such a dangerous lengthy challenge, when there was a 50% chance of survival? Especially when the bloke in question was unprepared, and in a boat that was practically unfinished and untested!

It doesn't make any sense!

On top of that, Donald was a total cheat, he stopped in Argentina to make some repairs, exaggerated his progress reports and falsified his logs. Suffered hallucinations due to deteriorating mental state and felt guilty for causing the sinking of another competitors (Nigel Tetley's) boat.

Eventually could no longer maintain the lies and committed suicide due to the intense scrutiny his logs would have undergone and the overwhelming guilt. The film was well made, but I was completely irritated by Donald's attitude towards his responsibilities, and felt he probably got what he deserved in the end, hence the 5/10 score.
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Emotioanlly gripping but inevitably stale
jmdietz-7426713 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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A so-so movie
BasicLogic5 June 2018
And sure was released for public viewing over couple of days, then the DVD release will be directly thrown into the $1.00 bin in Wal-mart. Making this kind of film really needed some investors not focused on making money but just want to shoot a picture with good story. But this film only achieved half of it for the family outing part before this guy decided to challenge himself to a solo voyage around the globe. Some reviewers have mentioned couple of similar films related to sail in the ocean and lost. What came into my mind is the pathetic movie, "All is Lost (2013)" by Robert Redford. The problem of both films was when these two guys on the land, things around them in their daily lives could be witnessed and remembered by the people around them, once they started on their solo voyage at the early stage, we could still got the record when they communicated with the concerned and related parties on land, but once they suddenly lost contact, all the on-going situations would have to be dramatized by fictitious guessing.

The mind set of those adventurers are just a bit different from the normal guys like most of us. Adventurers would challenge themselves and the Mother Nature. Climbing the highest Everest, diving into the deep sea...whatever, they just want to prove that they could beat the odds. But even you've conquered the summit, or what ever, what's the big deal, really? Even you've survived in the end, or breaking a world new record, what's the big deal? One person's achievement won't change the course of the orbit of the Earth, sun still going up on the East...people around you still fart, you still have to report you income tax, pay the utilities bills...nothing ever changed a bit. There were dreamers like what we saw in "The Man Who Would be King (1975)", but even that guy really succeeded, the other part of the world won't even heard about it. So, if you decided to leave your wife and kids behind, trying to prove you got some new toughness or stubbornness that enabled you to do some solo stunt on the sea, "Bon Voyage!" is like your stupid praying to God, nothing but a "Good Luck!" Wishful Thinking.
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so boring and miserable its a great sleeping pill
silvie201930 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A story of a desperate weak man, nothing to make a movie about, i can just look around and see many of those everywhere. It didnt bring about much drama to see how challenging it must have been. Probably committed a suicide, he failed himself, investors and his family. Why coming back? An amateur in every sense a dreamer, a failure. His faithful supporting wife had no clue shes with a crazy man. At least he got one thing right, shes better off without him. A good casting and scenery, Collin has this expression of a weak man already.
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Horribly boring, and...
boydpeters23 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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 story

Oh, 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.
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Bit tedious family drama. Melancholic mood throughout the whole movie with a downer ending.
imseeg18 April 2019
I really like these actors Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz. They were the reason I started watching it and (as usual) they act well. The story, based on true events about a man who is gonna sail around the world by himself, is quite interesting as well. But the direction of this movie is a bit tedious I am sorry to say. It drags on a bit. There isnt any real suspense or action. There isnt any real humor either. It is more a sentimental portrait of a family whose father is at sea, sailing around the world. Lots of family scenes with the kids, where the father teaches them life lessons.

The whole mood of this picture is a bit melancholic. One has to like that. I personally was bored a bit. On top of that there is a big downer ending. One certainly wont feel cheery after having watched it. But some people are fond of these melancholic movies with a few tears at the end. If so, you could give it a try, but dont expect fireworks either, because it isnt a gripping drama either. More a mellow sentimental drama, which toddles along nicely.
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A Tale of Endurance, Love, and Human Stupidity
lavatch21 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The time is 1968. The place is picturesque Tiegmouth, England. Based on a true story, "The Mercy" unfolds the saga of what appears too good to be true. A weekend sailor named Donald Crowhurst had decided to compete in the Golden Globe Race to outdo Francis Chichester in the fastest solo circumnavigation. The race is on!!! Then, everything goes wrong.

Colin Firth is good in the role of the overly confident Crowhurst, who has a dream of building a sleek boat and achieving fame with a fantastic feat of endurance and courage. He is supported by his three beautiful children and his devoted, long-suffering wife Clare (Rachel Weisz).

But there is a cloud hanging over this daredevil project after Crowhurst stakes both his business and his house on the success of the venture. And, apparently, he never confided in Clare about the financial jeopardy in which he was placing her and the children. Next, there are delays and cost overruns in the construction of the vessel with Crowhurst starting the race with the ship essentially unfinished.

Firth is successful in portraying the descent into madness of Crowhurst that ensues on the long and dangerous ocean voyage. Alone on the sea for seven months and two days, something snapped in the poor chap. What was to be the "triumph of the underdog" and the rise to fame of the super sailor turned into a tawdry story of failure, deceit, and, ultimately, cowardice.

A major flaw in the film was in the ocean voyage. It was never made clear what was the real voyage and what moments were occurring in Cowhurst's imagination. At one point, he goes ashore in Argentina, as he is in dire need of repairs to his boat. Of course, this act is in violation of the rules of the race. Was the Argentina scene real, or was it taking place in Cowhurst's sick mind?

One of the themes that is developed is the treatment of the Crowhurst story by the press, which includes the lust for sensationalism that is even more prevalent today than in the late 1960s. A hyperactive press agent is manically selling stories about Crowhurst's superhuman feat. At one point in the film, there was the hint that Crowhurst's triumphant return home would coincide with the landing on the moon in 1969.

But the end for Crowhurst was ignominy and abject failure. He wrote these telling words in his log book: "I have no need to prolong the game" and "It is finished - It is finished IT IS THE MERCY." He could have also written like Kurtz in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," "The horror! the horror!" The Crowhurst adventure was a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing but human stupidity.
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Mostly About Family
westsideschl16 March 2019
Not too much on the challenges in sailing, either alone or with others, or even across an ocean. Noteworthy statements: That everything is always wet, and noisy from the wind. Being alone allows you to explore your weaknesses. You always fear the smallest of holes. A lot of movie time on family. No subtitles with at times poor enunciation; difficult even more so for those w/hearing issues. The British English can also be a challenge for other dialects. Some companies, e.g. Screen Media Films, Studiocanal, BBC Films force you to sit through their "other offerings" i.e. preview ads even though you already paid for their DVD.
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Much better than shallow viewers gave credit...
jwscott-home10 March 2019
There was a very special message in this movie, because of that I highly recommend thoughtful and dedicated movie watchers to see this film.
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Could have been a good film
Gordon-119 March 2019
This film tells the story of an amateur sailor who attempts to be the first to circumnavigate without stopping.

The story could have been engaging, touching and captivating, but it ends up being none of these. I don't mind the slow pace, but the thing the bothers me is the lack of suspense, thrill or any type of emotion. There are really only that many minutes that I can watch Colin Firth using a bucket to get water overboard. Even supposedly dangerous scenes such as a treacherous storm feels plain and dull. There is little portrayal of impact of events at sea, such as the impact of water in the boat or the hole in the body that leaks water. The journal could have been a tool to fill the viewers in by himself saying what he is writing, but that has not been put into good use.
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