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Mercury Rising received a poor reception, a fate that movies of mixed
genre's often received. Audiences came in expecting an action movie, and
what they found was a heartwarming film about autism.
The plot of Mercury Rising is almost laughably thin. An autistic child sees through a top secret code, and the government decides to kill him. Enter the rogue FBI agent(Bruce Willis) with the heart of gold, and watch the testosterone take over. A plot like this is something usually associated with Steven Seagal.
The salvation to this movie is the relationship between Simon Lynch(Miko Hughes), the autistic child, and Willis redeems the movie. Without falling prey to the temptation to preach on autism, it sketchs an accurate picture of the illness. Hughes' performance is heartbreaking and accurate.
Alec Baldwin maintains the movies tension with a chilling performance as an NSA agent who makes the decision to kill Simon. Baldwin revels in the role of villain, pulling out every acting chop he has to make this role believable.
Director Harold Becker manages to propel this movie beyond its thin plot, riding on the backs of the incredible talent within the movie.
Mercury Rising is a very conventional "government bad guys" story about evil
agents out to kill an autistic boy who can break their top code. Of course,
the premise of the movie, that the government would rather kill someone who
can break their code rather than fixing the problems with the code, is
incredibly stupid. If one boy can break the code, isn't is reasonable that
some other boy in Russia or wherever can also break it? If it has a flaw
that allows the kid to find the pattern, doesn't it need to be fixed? Of
course, not. We just kill the kid and pretend nothing ever happened.
But, what is really sad is that there is a grain of truth in this story. It is the policy of the US Government that TRYING to break codes is illegal. If you are smart enough to figure out that the DVD encryption has a major flaw, it's not the fault of the designers, it's your fault. Researchers who have discovered flaws in codes, watermarks, etc, have been arrested. This "head in the sand" policy has been around for a long time.
So, next time you see this movie, just think how easy it would be to combine this attitude with someone a bit too gung ho.
This film was panned by critics when it was first released, and to this
day, I have absolutely no idea why.
Perhaps its because when you think of 'Bruce Willis' you think Die Hard, Action, over the top sequences.
Well perhaps the 'critics' need to get a life and stop thinking in such narrow terms, Willis is an able actor that can do more than Die Hard and in Mercury Rising he proves it ably.
I'm not going to go too much into the story as many others have, but the performance of Miko Hughes as the autistic 8 year old was fantastic. Having met a few autistic children, I'm not sure how Miko Hughes' performance wasn't singled out, which just further goes to show the naivety of the critics.
Only thing I didn't like about the film is John Barrys score. This man is so typecast as the James Bond music man, whenever I hear music, thats all I can think of, as his style is so focused on a certain type of sound with the same instruments littering his scores.
Every film he has ever done sounds the same.
Mercury Rising is worthy of your time, and I am not surprised that people are finally discovering it and realising that its not the failure that critics would have you believe.
I guess I am one of a few that really enjoyed this picture. For some reason I just felt the characters were very believable and the plot as well. I know it's just a movie but I wouldnt go as far as to say things like this don't happen. Bruce Willis is one of my favorites too, so maybe that is another reason I liked it so much. But anyone would have to agree that Miko Hughes, who portrayed the autistic 9yr old "Simon", gave a performance just as touching and realistic as the young boy from The Sixth Sense. Mercury Rising had good action, good dialogue and good emotion. And Bruce Willis gave that certain touch to make it a 10 to me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bruce Willis (Die Hard) stars in this excellent thriller as a FBI who
specializes in deep undercover. But when his current infiltration of a
militia group goes sour at a botched bank robbery he gets demoted to
recording wiretaps. While on assignment Willis is ordered to help out
with a missing child whose parents seemingly dies in a murder suicide.
But all is not what it seems when the child is discovered to be
autistic and to have stumbled onto solving the most important secret
the NSA has
Mercury, the unbreakable code hiding the identities of all
the undercover agents worldwide. The project leader (Alec Baldwin) will
stop at nothing to protect his code not even killing an autistic little
"Mercury Rising" is a solid novel adaptation by Harold Becker (Malice, Domestic Disturbance). The cast of this thriller nail all their performances. Willis always plays an excellent flawed tough guy in this role with it tailored just for him. Miko Hughes (Spawn, Pet Sematary) plays the autistic boy so well you almost thought he wasn't acting. It moves at a breakneck speed building tension along the way as various covert types try to put a bullet in Willis and companies collective head. "Mercury" is a solid thriller.
I just watcehd this on DVD, loved it and was literally stunned to find
that most people, in particular those that write movie reviews for a
living slated this.
Maybe its because in 2004, some six years after its original release we are seeing a revival of the action/thriller (Bourne Supremacy etc).
So, what didn't I like, not much. I would like to have seen more made of the kids codebreaking, they could really have milked that and didn't, the opening scene was just to cliché in setting up Willis's character as were the characters of his big black boss and hard nosed chief. The very last scene was typical US syrup but was thankfully very short.
What was good? everything else, I loved the idea behind the story, Miko Hughes is totally amazing to the point I had to check the next day to find out how the hell they managed to get a autistic kid to act (is isn't autistic but is a damn fine actor), Willis really does add vulnerability to a role that he has played many times before, with the movie underpinned fantastically with a John Barry soundscore and Harold Becker carefully crafts what for me was a very enjoyable movie watching experience and stands head and shoulders above many I have seen recently. 3/5 for me
Nearly six years ago, in the summer, I was camping and visiting some
relatives at their vacation trailer, and happened to walk in one day
while "Mercury Rising" was being watched. By that time, they were well
into the film, perhaps more than half way through, but I watched the
rest. I'm not exactly sure how much I liked it at the time, but didn't
see anything severely wrong with it. Last night, I watched the whole
movie for the first time. Knowing it wasn't the most widely praised
film, and that I have higher standards than I did six years ago, I had
fairly low expectations, but after that, I can't say I dislike it.
A very complex code called "Mercury" has been created by the NSA, one which is believed to be impossible to break. However, the code has been put in a puzzle magazine as a test to see if this is true, and a nine year old autistic boy in Chicago named Simon Lynch, who likes to solve puzzles, manages to break it. The NSA receives a call from this boy, and the two agents who have received the call inform their boss, Nicholas Kudrow. Kudrow is afraid of the code being spread around, so he sends an assassin to kill the boy! The assassin comes to Simon's house and kills his parents, but cannot find the boy himself, and flees when he hears the police coming! An FBI agent named Art Jeffries is sent to investigate, and he finds Simon hiding in a closet. After taking the boy away, Art must protect him and try to keep him from the assassins, which will be difficult, as he doesn't have too many people on his side, and keeping Simon in one place in sometimes a challenge!
I'm not sure exactly how to explain my feelings about this movie. Around the beginning, it seemed pretty much average, but it gradually got better. I was pretty shocked at the scene where Simon's parents are killed, and not in a good way. Some (probably many) people have criticised "Mercury Rising" for being so unrealistic and clichéd, and I'm not going to argue with that, but I can't say I think it's a bad movie. As usual, Bruce Willis puts on a memorable performance, this time as FBI agent Art Jeffries, a likable character, and then-child actor Miko Hughes is also impressive as Simon. Playing the role of an autistic character probably wasn't easy, but it seems Hughes managed to pull it off. For me, it was reasonably suspenseful seeing the two characters on the run together. The film has very memorable and touching ending as well, one which I remembered from the first time.
No, this certainly isn't the most popular action thriller ever made, nor does it deserve to be, but worse has been done. I honestly thought I would have more critical things to say about "Mercury Rising", but I don't, and it seems many of those who don't like it have given good reasons why they don't, probably better reasons than I can give for praising it. Since this 1998 action thriller is so polarizing, I guess there's no guarantee whether you'll like it or not, unless you don't like action thrillers in general, then you obviously wouldn't like it. However, if you're a fan of this genre, (you like good, though maybe mindless action), there's a chance "Mercury Rising" will do, as long as you're not expecting a masterpiece.
This movie has one huge problem: *its basic premise makes no sense at
all*. Killing the kid is in absolutely nobody's interest. His
codebreaking skill would be of immeasurable value to the very people
who are trying to kill him, while safeguarding the code without killing
him would be fairly straightforward. This is so obvious that it
essentially ruins the whole movie.
The rest of the movie is OK if you ignore that problem. The performances are generally good, and Miko Hughes is excellent as Simon. There is nothing here you haven't seen a dozen times before, but it's generally well done. It's not worth making any real effort to see this movie, but you probably won't have a bad time if you do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Imagine one of the most sophisticated codes ever invented ending up
inside a puzzle magazine. The creators figured, incorrectly, no one
will be able to decipher it. Leave it to young, autistic, Simon Lynch,
it only takes him a few moments to solve the enigma code. Simon makes
the terrible mistake to call the number given in the magazine and
immediately, the power behind its creation wants to have this person,
or persons, eliminated! At the same time, Art Jeffries, an FBI agent,
has run into trouble as he mishandles a hostage situation and is
demoted. When he is sent to investigate the death of the Lynches, he
discovers little Simon hidden in a secret hiding place. Art, who
suddenly realizes there is something more than just a homicide, takes
the boy with him and embarks into an adventure in trying to solve the
mystery. Nothing tells him why is this seeming innocent boy the object
of revenge that will take him all the way to a higher up in the
government in solving the puzzle.
Harold Becker directs this thriller that was based on the novel, "Simple Simon", written by Ryne Douglas Pearson. The screen adaptation was written by Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner. While the film doesn't break any new ground, it's never boring thanks to the direction of Mr. Becker.
The best thing in the film is the easy chemistry between Bruce Willis and the child actor Miko Hughes, who is convincing as the autistic boy. Alec Baldwin turns up playing a heavy evil man. Chi McBride and Kim Dickens make some valuable contributions to the film
It was just a matter of time before Bruce hit a slump. 1998 was a bad
year. The Fifth Element was good, but The Siege, Armageddon and Mercury
Rising were stretching it for the star. Not that they are a complete
waste, but they are for fans only.
I work with children who have autism, so I naturally like the fact that they are featured and hope that it helps people understand the disease a little more. So, it was a good story for me, and Willis' acting with the boy probably got him the role in The Sixth Sense.
Alec Baldwin plays the government official you love to hate as he is effective in displaying why we distrust the government so much. Hope that comment doesn't get me sent to Guantanamo.
Maybe not entirely realistic, but good job by Willis and a good thriller.
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