• 11 Aug - 17 Aug, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

The Mercy is a drama-tragedy of the true life of Donald Crowhurst – a man full of dreams of adventure and misguided ambition who faced worldly pressures alone at sea.

James Marsh (helmer the Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire, and The Theory of Everything) has the sensibility and superior taste of letting the audience fall in to steps with the emotion of the film by laying a grounded narrative of the forgotten inventor and amateur weekend sailor, who cheated on a sea-race to circumvent the globe in 1968.

The story begin at a sailing convention where Crowhurst tries to sell his invention Navicator – an advance navigating device that won’t let anyone get lost at sea. The device, though, is a tough seller. The family is living on little, and to make something of the Navicator and his other inventions, Crowhurst signs up for a Golden Globe race set by an English newspaper where the contestants have to circumvent the world. There are two prizes: one for completing the race, and the other for completing it the fastest. To go on the sea a man needs more than his tenacity and ambition, so Crowhurst adds an investor, publicist and sponsors to the mix to go on a voyage that he is ill prepared for.

Marsh’s angle is very human and morally heavy. He lets the audience glimpse uncertainness within tiny expressions from Crowhurst (Colin Firth), as he shifts between BBC’s documented interviews and the long nights he endured alone at sea. The film uses ample time to make us realise that the trip is too big for this mild mannered Englishman, and will not lead to a happy story.

Colin Firth and rest of the cast (Rachel Weisz and David Thewlis), are gems of grave and graceful performances. Score from the late Oscar-nominated Jóhann Jóhannsson (who died February this year), sets the ambiance of a tragedy that unfurls like a dark shadow looming on one particularly happy family on a bright sunny day. Although a bit too gloomy for the audience, The Mercy is a testament of the resilience of good old-fashioned storytelling, even if it leaves one with a brief sense of melancholy.•