By Hemanth Kissoon
“They will learn to live with it. As will I. We will learn to live with it. We have to.” Maria to her husband Niels.
I love Apple products, but I practically screamed at the screen, “You’re f*cking kidding!” when the movie finished. It has possibly the worst last shot in cinema history, as the camera pulls out to reveal an iPhone – like some inept advert. What was director Matthias Glasner thinking?! The young son in the film goes around recording moments, coincidentally at times really relevant to the story. This only takes up a small percentage of the narrative, but the product placement is so jarring that it takes time to readjust back to the story on each occasion. The rest of the visuals are flashy to the point of over-egging and showing-off, which I don’t mind, and secretly really enjoy. It’s better than being bland.
Plot-wise, we’re in Susanne Bier OPEN HEARTS territory. Think also Terry George’s RESERVATION ROAD. An accident overturns the lives of two families. Niels is an engineer who has moved his wife and child from Germany to Norway, to one of the most northern cities in the world. His wife is a nurse, and one day is involved in an unintentional hit-and-run, resulting in the death of a teenage girl. The title would suggest an exploration of clemency, though that’s not what happens. Ideas of guilt (including by association), and neglect are looked at. MERCY would have been satisfying had it concluded about five minutes earlier with ambiguity; instead it veers from the unbelievable to the ludicrous.