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The incredible story of Donald Crowhurst , an amateur sailor who competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in the hope of becoming the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping. With an unfinished boat and his business and house on the line, Donald leaves his wife, Clare and their children behind, hesitantly embarking on an adventure on his boat the Teignmouth Electron. The story of Crowhurst's dangerous solo voyage and the struggles he confronted on the epic journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.Written by
One of two biopics about Donald Crowhurst slated for release in the UK only a few weeks apart. The other, the independently produced Crowhurst (2017), starring Justin Salinger as Donald Crowhurst, was finished earlier, but the distributor of The Mercy bought it and delayed its release until a month after that of this film. See more »
When the Teignmouth Electron is leaving harbour, the yachts in the background have a stern shape that's about 40 years too modern. See more »
Will you be entering, Sir Francis?
Sir Francis Chichester:
No, no, I've had my fun. Wild horses wouldn't drag me back to the sinister Southern Ocean. I believe a man said that the waves there measured not in feet and inches, but in increments of fear.
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Liked it, then hated it, is a wasted opportunity that could have been a lot better.
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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