In 1968, keen amateur sailor and father of three Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) decides to become the first man to non-stop circumnavigate the globe by sea. Entering the Sunday Times Around The World competition, he enlists the help of PR agent (David Thwelis) and gains sponsorship from local caravan retailer (Ken Stott). However, for a man who has never sailed beyond the limits of Teignmouth harbour, this voyage will become a test that will challenge both his limits on land and at sea.
'...is sadly becalmed of the real drama that would lift it into more people’s horizons.'
In a BBC film, buoyed up with the impressive casting of Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz and David Thwelis, ‘The Mercy’ should be plain sailing. In fact with its exceptional casting, the film is indeed in good hands. Emboldened by such exploits of derring-do, Firth’s Donald Crowhurst is a man who feels compelled to make his mark on history.
However consumed by both promises and assurances given, his grand voyage slowly starts to choke his own enthusiasm for it. As delays push back his departure, they reveal a man slowly skewered on his own ambition. For In a time where “England still expected”, there is no turning back for him. As a vessel for all the hopes and dreams of his family and his town, his growing sense of doubt becomes silent storm clouds that gather on the horizon.
In the role of Donald Crowhurst, Colin Firth depicts a man unravelling with earnestness and stuttering charm. As his wife, Rachel Weisz gives him solid support as does Ken Stott’s boat financier. However it is David Thewlis’s PR agent who really pulls you through the storm. As the one, solitary character who truly understands how the world works and the heavy price it will command for its attention, his realistic turn as gives both oxygen to Donald’s dreams as much as it does the film itself.
Sadly becalmed of the real drama, ‘The Mercy’ is a television film that will command your attention for the quality of its actors and attention to detail alone.