Adventure and discovery have always fascinating man, whether we’re born with the bug or merely excitable voyeurs. Whilst most challenges have now been conquered, even as late as the 1990s the press was full of Richard Branson’s failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Combine that with a soft spot for the plucky underdog, and it provides a mouth-watering combination. Donald Crowhurst’s attempt to sail around the world solo fits deftly into both categories. James Marsh’s new film The Mercy tells his story.
Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) is an amateur sailor and inventor who is struggling to support his wife Clare (Rachel Weisz) and their family. In 1968, when he hears about The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a competition with a prize of £5000 for the entrant who can single-handedly traverse the globe in the quickest time. Despite lacking the experience, money or a boat capable of making the voyage, he jumps at the chance. Spurred on by a media agent (David Thewlis), the chance to win the prize and to bask in the glory.
The Mercy is an impressive drama about knowing your limits and the lengths some people will go to in order to realise their dreams. Marsh assembles an impressive British cast, and as you’d expect, everything is done well. The issue with The Mercy is that it plays it safe and circumvents much of the controversy by focussing on the human story. That said, if you’re looking for an entertaining and emotive drama about one man’s quest to tame the sea, The Mercy is for you.
The Mercy is released on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray by Studiocanal on 4 June.