Must admit I wasn’t too sure about this one. As a person who gets seasick in the bath I hoped it wasn’t going to be filmed with realistic hand held shaky cam.
I’m pleased to report it was just the right amount … enough to feel the pounding waves without the need to throw up in my chocolate bomb wrapper. Seriously though The Mercy is an incredibly moving, poignant movie all the more so as its based on a real story.
In 1968 Englishman Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) decided to enter a sailing competition put on by the Sunday Times. Nothing huge about that, except that the competition was to circumnavigate the world, solo. There was a prize for the first to finish and another for the fastest, either would set up his young family for life.
There was just one thing. Crowhurst was an amateur sailor, he’d never attempted anything like the distance involved. Oh and he didn’t have a boat. What he did have was heaps of enthusiasm, a supportive family and a boss who was willing to sponsor his attempt in return for promoting their design company.
As his start date drew nearer and his wife Clare (Rachel Weisz) realised this was really happening things got serious, especially as the boat wasn’t ready and his competitors were already well on their way.
News had spread of his attempt, as it does and on the eve of his departure, despite his strong reservations he knew he had to set sail.
It wasn’t long before he realised his folly. With the boat in need of urgent repair he had no choice but to return to land for a quick fix, but that would mean instant disqualification. What to do? Return home to face the music and financial ruin or get the boat fixed? I won’t tell you any more.
Meanwhile at home his media team is whipping up a frenzy of interest. Children are following his journey at school. International media becomes involved as his competitors fall by the wayside. The world is watching, but what’s really happening at sea?
The movie explores this mystery and both Firth and Weisz do a wonderful job. Weisz gets to deliver one of the best speeches that is so appropriate for the world we currently live in. Like me it will leave you pondering:
- A reminder that our heroes are real people living real lives, often with family to support;
- The media and we the public place great expectations on anyone trying to step outside the box and achieve something great. We happily follow along when things are going well but what about when things go wrong? Where are we then? What part do we play in their downfall?
- It speaks to man’s need to conquer things, especially the sea.
- The weighty expectations we place on ourselves are sometimes the hardest to achieve.
- There is a great quote something about extraordinary men don’t set out to be extraordinary, they set out to do extraordinary things.
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