The Mercy (2018)

Director: James Marsh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

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

 

Plot: The incredible story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his solo attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The struggles he confronted on the journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.


Tagline – Based on the true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced, Lacks Impact

 

Story: The Mercy starts when inventor Donald Crowhurst (Firth) who has been working on boating equipment for years decides he wants to try and circumnavigate the globe alone, with no experience of sailing behind him. His wife Clare (Weisz) supports his decision believe he knows what he is getting himself into and Rodney Hallworth (Thewlis) handling the press and Mr Best (Stott) financing the trip.

While on the adventure, plans don’t go to plan and alone Donald must make a difficult decision to cut the corners to both save his life from danger and break the records set out on front of him. When his journey gets studied questions arise and soon the mystery about his pace come to light.

 

Thoughts on The Mercy

 

Characters – Donald Crowhurst has been inventing equipment for boats for years, the one things he desires more is to go around the world, which he puts into motion by building the fastest boat, but with no experience can he do the impossible? Clare is his wife back home and mother to their children, she faces the anxious wait for him to return from his journey, while dealing with the idea he might not make it back and the increased public spotlight thrown on the family because of his success. Rodney is the press officer arranging the sponsors for Donald and bring in the press to tell his story to the world, he becomes more involved the better and faster Donald does.

PerformancesColin Firth is the star of this show, he does much of the work in solo takes showing the endurance he is facing in the middle of the ocean, the moments of beauty and the moments or loneliness shine through in his expressions. Rachel Weisz is good and shines in a couple of scenes, but doesn’t show her full skills. David Thewlis is always an excellent supporting performer too.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely sailor taking on one of the riskiest and most dangerous journey a sailor can take alone. He brings hope to any sailor with the idea, but the truth will leave that hope shattered in one of the biggest mysteries in the sailing world. this is based on a real-event which is interesting to see unfold, my problem with the way the story is told, is that we don’t really know what happened and never get any real evidence either way, which by the end leaves you playing into theories over the truths.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure plays into the idea that Donald could be going on a journey that could inspire anyone. The biopic side of the film shows how the family was dealing with the journey, but what Donald did on the boat can’t be answered.

SettingsThe film creates the time period well and the time spent on the boat feels like the adventure it was meant to be.


Scene of the Movie –
The wildlife shots.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the truth.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting biopic that shows a mystery that was never truly solved, it is paced nicely but lack that point of solving the mystery only making suggestions.

 

Overall: Solid biopic with great performances.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – L – The Lobster (2015)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, John C Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Delightful

 

Story: The Lobster starts as David’s (Farrell) wife leave him meaning he must attending a hotel to find a new partner. David is welcome to stay for 45 days and if he doesn’t find himself a partner he will be transformed into a beast and sent to the woods, David does keep his brother who is now a dog as company for now ad David’s choice of animal is a lobster.

When David breaks the rules inside the hotel, he finds himself on the run with the other ‘loners’ roaming the forest that he once had to hunt down, here he meets the Short-Sighted Woman (Weisz) and the leader of the loners (Seydoux). This shows David the difference between the worlds as they see just how different the ideas between the two worlds can be.

 

Thoughts on The Lobster

 

Characters – David is recently sent to the hotel to find himself a new partner within the 45 days, he struggles to meet someone and ends up breaking the rules and becoming one of the loners hiding in the woods. He sums up what it is like to be grieving and alone in the world. Short-Sighted Woman is telling us the story and is one of the loners in the woods. We have strange group of characters that all interact with David

PerformanceColin Farrell is brilliant in this role which goes against anything we believe him to be able to do, you are kept on edge to learn what he will do next. Rachel Weisz makes for a great supporting performance showing us all the skills we know she is capable off. The rest of the cast all give great supporting performance throughout the film too.

StoryDescribing this story does become very difficult, the words unique, strange and different would be the best ones to use. We have a world where you must be matched up or be doomed to being transformed into an animal or live in loneliness in the woods. This is a strange view on love but it does work perfectly for the world created.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is filled with dark comedy that will make you laugh at times with some being about just how crazy the idea is with the romance side of the film being a different world view on romance.

SettingsThe hotel gives us one unique setting for everything happening, with the woods showing the loneliness the characters will face if they don’t match up.

Scene of the Movie – Hide and Seek practice.

The Moment That Annoyed Me While unique in everything I did find that I would have like to have seen more about the transformation process.

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the most unique movies you will ever see, difficult to describe but wonderful to watch.

 

Overall: Strange, weird and wonderful.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – The Lovely Bones (2009)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Alice Sebold (Novel)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan

 

Plot: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Fantasy Elements Throughout

 

Story: The Lovely Bones starts as Susie (Ronan) introduces us to her family, father Jack (Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Weisz), sister Lindsey, brother Buckley and Grandma Lynn (Sarandon), Susie tells us about her memories, dreams and that she was murdered by George Harvey (Tucci).

Susie trapped in purgatory wants to show her family who the murderer was as she watches over her family, her family are dealing with her loss in different ways, Jack is trying to solve who would have done it, while Abigail is grieving silently.

As Susie watches her family she does see the healing happening but when Lindsey catches the eye of George, she makes it her mission to protect her sister from the same fate she suffered.

 

Thoughts on The Lovely Bones

 

Characters – Susie is our victim, she is also our narrator telling us her feels towards her family before and after she is murdered. She is the light in the darkest places, a teenager that never experienced those life moments she dreamt off. Jack is Susie’s father that never gives up on finder the person responsible but this only makes him crazy pushing Abigail away from him as she is parent that needs to get away from everything to recover. George Harvey is the man that killed Susie, he lives in the street waiting for his moment to take advantage of any of his victims. Grandma Lynn tries to help bring peace to the family and mostly the children.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan showed us here once again that she was one of the best actresses of her generation, being able to tell the story for the eyes. Wahlberg gives us a solid performance through the film while Weisz does all she can with what she gets, she does have a couple of powerful moments though. Susan Sarandon enjoys the grandmother role but it Stanley Tucci that gives us the most haunting performance of his career to date.

StoryThe story brings a fresh spin on the idea of a murder in suburban neighbourhood, we have had the ones where it could be someone in the area, we have had the parent searching for the killer, we have had the ghost haunting but to have the spirit watching over the people they loved and the one that killed them brings a unique way of looking at the whole murder and solving it. For a story this may well be from a novel of the same name and it is good watch throughout.

Fantasy/ThrillerThe idea of the fantasy side of the film comes from the purgatory that Susie finds herself in, it is a visual treat at times in this world.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a small suburban neighbourhood where everyone believes they know everyone, where the sudden disappearance of Susie brings the family to start pointing fingers shows how a neighbourhood can come together to put this behind them.

Special EffectsThe effects for the purgatory looks fantastic throughout the film showing us the imagination of Susie at work.

Scene of the Movie – Bottle smashing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does come off longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a visual treat and good spin on the murder movie, it is well worth watching to see how the lives of the people effected by the disappearance.

 

Overall: Good fantasy crime movie.

Rating

 

 

The Whistleblower (2011)

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Plot: A drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shockingly Powerful Film

 

Story: The Whistleblower starts when Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz) who needs a transfer to be close to her family, struggling to achieve this an opportunity to make a lot of money comes up as a Peace Officer is Bosnia. In Bosnia Kathryn learns the hard way the war might be over but tensions are still sky high between the men of the multinational country.

Kathryn gets recruited by Madeleine Rees (Redgrave) to start looking into crimes within the country where she learns of the sex trafficking going on within the country and even more shockingly within the UN members themselves. Kathryn has to investigating just how high up this goes before blowing the news to the world through Internal Affairs Agent Peter Ward (Strathairn).

We also follow the victims side of the story through Irka (Kondracki), Raya (Condurache) and Luba (Schramm) from the idea of a new life to trying to survive in the sex trafficking underground never knowing who to trust.

The Whistleblower is one of the most shocking and most powerful movies I have seen in a long time, to think this is still happening in our world and it is being swept under the carpet by governments. To see and feel the struggle that Kathryn goes through to expose the truth and all of the hurdles that she had to take on. This shows that there are crimes going on in the world that just don’t get answered for and need to be addressed because there are so many people twisted enough to do this to people is truly shocking. Not many stories have hit me as hard as this one.

 

Actor Review

 

Rachel Weisz: Kathryn Bolkovac is a divorced cop that needs a transfer to keep herself in her children’s lives but the only option is a move to Bosnia to earn big money. While in Bosnia she learns the shocking truth about how the young woman are forced into sex trafficking as she battles every obstacle put on front of her to expose the truth to the world. Rachel gives us the best performance of her career in this film.

Vanessa Redgrave: Madeleine Rees is one of the authority figures within the American side trying to help out in Bosnia, she sees Kathryn as the symbol to expose the truth offering as much help as she can to make this happen. Vanessa is great in this supporting role.

Monica Bellucci: Laura Leviani is the relation officers within the Bosnian government who only does what she can to help, she will not go against anything only helping the people of her own country trying to sweep everything else under the rug. Monica is good in this supporting role throughout.

David Strathairn: Peter Ward is the Internal Affairs Agent that is working with Kathryn to make sure she gets the support needed giving them what they need to expose the truth. David is important in this role which is mostly a supporting role.

Support Cast: The Whistleblower has a great supporting casting all showing both sides of the story either the victims, the men involved and the ones willing to try and help.

Director Review: Larysa KondrackiLarysa gives us a shocking film that has to be seen.

 

Biographical: The Whistleblower gives us a look into the life of Kathryn and her troubles with expose the truth and doing the right thing.

Crime: The Whistleblower shows the shocking crimes going on within the aftermath of the war.

Thriller: The Whistleblower keeps us on edge from start to finish as we wonder what will be happening.

Settings: The Whistleblower puts us into the middle of the location being used showing how they would have looked during the time.

Suggestion: The Whistleblower is one I feel everyone should watch at least once to see the shocking news. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Just how shocking it is.

Worst Part: That this actually was happening.

 

Believability: Based on the real story.

Chances of Tears: Maybe a few.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: You could have seen Rachel getting a nomination.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing is more dangerous than the truth.

 

Overall: One of the most must watch films of recent years.

Ratingcard