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Rated: Unrated
Genre: Arthouse Suspense Thriller Drama
Directed By: Patrick Roddy
Running Time: 1:25
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/28/07



I was turned off by “Mercy” in the first five minutes. The film is almost ninety minutes, and the first five minutes are so surreal. But then, like a slap in the face, director Roddy poses that, shit, that’s the point! “Mercy” is a lot like something from the David Lynch school of filmmaking. It’s an art film, sure, it has some horror elements, yes, but deep down, it’s more about the experience of a man trying to live a normal life. And his evil catching up with him. Or so I assume. I’ll be honest, “Mercy” requires a lot of attention, because Roddy thankfully hides the deeper meaning under layers of subtle imagery. “Mercy” is not an easy film to review. Hell, it’s not a very easy film to watch.

But Roddy examines the sheer dark world this prisoner experiences while on parole, and the guarantee that he’s capable of heading right back to square one. The outside world is vicious and the streets are often very dark and barren. “Mercy” is one of the better looking independent films I’ve seen in years. The cinematography is complimented by Roddy’s powerful direction that’s based on long camera focus, deep camera angles that paints halls and streets as endless, and his use of shadows and light are rather impressive.  

“Mercy,” which oddly reminded me of “Eraserhead,” is a trip into the mind of a man with a horrible past, and that’s certain when he begins being followed by a mysterious woman who haunts him in his dreams. Then suddenly, he awakes with pieces of his body missing. A tooth. A finger. And… shit only hits the fan more and more as the time goes on. There are definite shades of Lynch here, and that’s a good thing, because Lynch fans at festivals will be pleased to see Roddy has the style down, yet breaks free of being pigeon holed. And what makes the film even better is the hook, and the inevitable answers to the questions that audiences will be asking themselves from the beginning, as the body parts start disappearing. “Mercy” is a dark trip into a man struggling with good and evil, an obviously evil man that Roddy asks us to go on this journey with, and I was pleased, and surprised.

I was afraid I'd be begging for mercy from Roddy's surreal thriller (corny, aren't I?), but thankfully, it's a tight little thriller that relies on simplicity to propel it as a top notch mystery. Great acting, top notch cinematography, and beautiful direction make this worth the watch, even if it's not an easy sell.



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