The Mercy (2018)

The Mercy
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Buchan, Simon McBurney, Ken Stott
Seen on: 3.4.2018

Plot:
Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) is an inventor and a dreamer. He hasn’t always had the best luck with his business, but he still dreams big. When he hears about a race to sail alone around the world without stopping, amateur sailor Donald decides to go for it, hoping that the cash prize will finally mean financial security. He throws everything he has and more at the project, designing his own boat and getting ready. But everything takes longer than he planned and despite the problems and the increasing worries of his wife (Rachel Weisz) and children, Donald sets off delayed and with an unfinished boat to try and win anyway.

The Mercy is an impressive film with a stellar cast and a healthy dose of criticism of the “if you just work it hard enough, you can have it all” notion. It’s tough to watch but mostly worth it.

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Side Effects (2013)

Side Effects
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-JonesVinessa Shaw, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Plot:
Emily’s (Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) was in prison for the last four years, for fraud. Now he’s finally out and Emily should be super-happy as her life is slowly falling into place again. But unfortunately she’s not. Instead she’s depressed and really not doing well. After she drives her car into a wall, she starts treatment with Dr. Banks (Jude Law) who prescribes her various medications. But every medication has its side effects.

I really enjoyed the first half of this film. Unfortunately it then gets lost in a clusterfuck of tropes and plot twists and starts to suck really badly.

side_effects

[SPOILERS]

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The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Bourne Ultimatum
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Paddy Considine, Édgar Ramírez, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, Daniel Brühl

Plot:
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still running, hiding and not remembering. But then he stumbles upon an article by Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) about himself, the Treadstone Project and Operation Blackbriar. So Jason goes to meet Simon to find out his source and get more info about his past. But in the meantime Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is on Jason’s tail – and he wants nothing more than to make Jason go away for good.

The Bourne Ultimatumg is a rather satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and to Bourne’s story, though I didn’t get into it as much as I would have liked.

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Contagion (2011)

Contagion
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Ehle, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston, Josie Ho

Plot:
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) travels home from a business trip in Hong Kong. But almost as soon as she reaches her husband (Matt Damon) and son, the cold she brought from Hong Kong turns out to be much worse and is, in fact, the beginning of a worldwide epidemic. While people around them start dying the CDC sends an agent (Kate Winslet) to Boston, while the WHO sends one of their people (Marion Cotillard) to Hong Kong in a desperate attempt to find a cure – and quickly.

In Contagion, Soderbergh dodges most of the classic movie conventions on how to tell his story. Instead he makes a film that feels so utterly realistic that you can almost believe it to be a documentary. That is not only impressive per se, it also makes for an excellent film.

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