The Mercy Review

Starring: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Buchan.

Director: James Marsh

Release date: 9th February 2018

It’s 1968 and the 25th annual Sunday Times Boat Show is in full swing. A competition is announced which involves sailing solo around the world. The prize will be £5000 (around £80k in today’s money). Sir Francis Chichester currently holds the record and he issues the challenge. A man called Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) is there, demonstrating a navigational system he has created and is selling through his company, Electron Utilisation. Demand is slow. He hears the speech about the race and is instantly enthralled. He sends in an application, unbeknownst to his wife, Clare (Rachel Weisz) and their three children. They live in Teignmouth, Devon and everyone is shocked when they hear about Donald’s plans. He is a very inexperienced sailor and so obviously, Clare is very concerned. He secretly re-mortgages the house and uses his business as collateral to get money to build a boat and fund the voyage. In June of ’68, they begin work on the boat. It’s a gruelling task but Donald knows he’s come too far to back out now. On 31st October 1968, Donald sets sail on his solo mission to circumnavigate the globe, non-stop…


Based on true events, the story of Donald Crowhurst’s solo voyage around the world made National news. He had entered the race mostly for the prize money, which would have helped his business to flourish from its poor state. He built a 40ft Trimaran for the endeavour, but his inexperience and determinedness would ultimately be his downfall. Donald was at sea for around 240 days.

The Mercy’ is brought to you by the award winning director of ‘The Theory of Everything’, James Marsh, he’s possibly best known for his work on ‘Man On Wire’, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2008. James was born in Cornwall, so maybe he had some very slight connection to the story. He would have only been around 5 years old when the events unfolded in 1968 though…


This film is about family, determination and one man’s desire to follow a dream. Colin Firth is perfect in the role of Donald, though to be honest, I’d be happy watching him act in anything. I’m guessing that Colin probably had to lose a bit of weight for the role, as Donald gets pretty skinny towards the end of the movie. He also conveys Donald’s descent into madness really well.

I really loved ‘The Mercy’, and the fact that it was a true story, made it that bit sadder. The pain that Donald’s wife, Clare must have gone through, I’d say would have been unbearable. Not knowing still to this day, exactly what happened to her husband. A really great cast, including the always brilliant Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who) and also the wonderful David Thewlis, makes this definitely one to watch.


A movie based on true events, ‘The Mercy’ is the story of one man’s desire to fulfil his potential but unfortunately fate has other ideas..

Overall: 7.5/10


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