Sailors' Library

The Mercy

Directed by James Marsh

Produced by BBC Films 2018

Based on the tragic story of Donald Crowhurst, the yachtsman who competed in the Sunday Times’ newspaper stunt race of sailing solo, non-stop around the world in 1968 but who never returned. 

Released half a century after the event, Colin Firth plays Crowhurst in a well-studied performance of a lone man confronted by failure, fraud, and financial ruin. Firth is convincing as the solo sailor and convincingly portrays the madness into which the real-life father of five descended.

Rachel Weisz has the much more demanding role of presenting Crowhurst’s wife, Clare, who kept a very low profile during the run-up to and shocking aftermath of the race. To this day she has given very few interviews, so the actress had very little she could turn to for inspiration.

It is a film worth seeing, although, I found it a little truncated and therefore disappointing. This is one of the greatest, most disturbing sea stories of all time and should have been given greater length and depth.

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