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Review: The Mercy – “Ultimately a bit depressing”

A film which centres largely on one person’s time in isolation is always a hard sell, but if there’s anyone that can keep you interested, it’s crowd-pleaser and all-round acting legend Colin Firth.

Firth reprises the role of yachtsman Donald Crowhurst in THE MERCY who, in 1968, entered The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race – a one-man yacht race around the world. Unlike many of his competitors, Crowhurst was not a professional, having never sailed beyond British waters, and he largely entered in order to win the cash prize to save his ailing business. His lack of experience, combined with technical issues with his boat unsurprisingly led to problems at sea, making the endeavour near-impossible. Faced with the unthinkable decision to turn back, he makes a drastic call to cover up his failure and trick the world into believing him in the lead.

Rachel Weisz plays Crowhurst’s widow Clare, who we see at home raising their children as the family await his victorious return, in scenes which paint a beautiful – if rather sad – portrait of picturesque seaside Britain. This combination of two of England’s most watchable actors is, it must be said, this film’s saving grace. Surprisingly, it’s not the focus on a solo individual which makes this film falter to hold attention, but rather its lacking pace and somewhat lacklustre conclusion mean it fails to pack the punch awaited from a film of this nature.

It’s a film about a dreamer, but one that somehow doesn’t do much to inspire the dreamers who watch it. There’s just something ultimately a bit depressing about watching someone fail at their dreams. As Crowhurst says in the film, ‘dreams are the seeds of action’ but, sadly, THE MERCY is not.

The Mercy is in UK cinemas now.

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