Mercy III

film 2 of 3


Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 28, 2015

The mechanics of the participatory documentary get really unwieldy here, so much so that you wonder if it can ever be otherwise. Interviews are no problem, and Michael Moore-like hijinx work very well. But when the filmmaker is a long-term participant in an actual person’s actual life, then cinéma vérité can easily become cinema forcé. Pan to Steve J. looking pensive.

That’s true and fair, but it would be petty to key overly on it. Here is the service dilemma of the Grimms’ Snow White and Rose Red writ large, and extended to an almost terminal extent. How can one ever rectify, let alone help this bottomless array of want and ignorance? Take note, ministers and activists. You can’t, and your duty remains equally. The poor, benighted, pugnacious wretch! All the hints of better things (sister/brother-in-law!), the little glimpses of daylight that close right up again. The Aryans! The afflicted, shining forth. Very complicated stuff. The quality of mercy is actually quite strained here, but James also provides us with a pretty fair ideal of complicated and sublime social and personal commitment.

In addition to all the cringe-worthy stuff, Stevie is also pretty funny (the animal noises clock that cost $37, etc.). Many of the laughs are at the expense of the main character. It’s probably not the film’s fault. Short of Christ-like people, the twain will never meet.

Back to, concluding with this subject. Do you have scruple about Restricted-ratings? This one is quite deserved, and yet—adults/disciples need to be aware of this kind of thing! They will, after all, inevitably and probably quite often be called upon to minister thereto.