Film: Mercy

“Mercy” is a wonderful film. Full disclosure, I’ve been waiting for “Mercy” to come out for quite some time. I’ve followed the director, Patrick Hoelck, and his photography work for quite some time and I had the opportunity to see some early scenes of the film while I worked on a poster for an international distributor repping the project. I’ve seen some reviews criticize the film as being as uninformed on love as the protagonist is throughout much of the film, and I’ll tell you straight away that I think that’s bullshit. As someone who has struggle with the trials and tribulations of heartache, coming from a broken home, what have you, I think this film pretty much nails it right on the head, at least from a male perspective. That’s not to say that this is a film that won’t relate to women, but if it really speaks to men of a certain age, at a certain place in their lives, how can that be viewed as a negative? It shouldn’t be.

From a visual perspective, this film is gorgeous. There aren’t any chase sequences or incredibly avant garde edits, I do not mean gorgeous in an Aronofsky “Requiem” sense. I mean gorgeous in the way that a still photograph that still captures your attention after decades is gorgeous. Often, Hoelck does just that…. Composes a beautiful picture and presses record. There is a sequence taken on a Los Angeles street, two of our main characters talking next to a vintage convertible. The scene is so beautiful visually that I wish I had it framed on my wall. For a low budget film, I found there were so many moments where I was visually impressed, and that’s really something special for an independent film shooting entirely on location in L.A.

The acting was also phenomenal. I’ve come to expect standout performances from Scott Caan and Dylan McDermott, but Wendy Glenn, who plays the title character of Mercy, was completely captivating. In many ways she matched the aesthetic of the film, not only in talent, but with his classic good looks and grace. The film plays like a period piece set in modern Los Angeles, something I’ve never seen before. I read an interview before the film came out where the filmmakers talked about painting Los Angeles in a different, more romantic light, not just as a place of glitter and gold. Mission accomplished.

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