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Movie Review: Mercy

I can’t say Mercy is one of my favorite movies however the ending earned Mercy a review. Mercy is another movie featuring Ellen Barkin and Julian Sands who were both in the movie Siesta. Don’t get me wrong, Mercy isn’t a terrible movie. It’s just really slow. If you have some time to kill and you’ve made a trip to the attention span warehouse and bought some in bulk, then you can sit down and enjoy this film.

Mercy is one of those “serial killer on the loose” thrillers where the main investigator of the case gets involved with the one person directly connected to the case who may be the killer but it turns out they aren’t and the most boring, insignificant character is actually the killer. You know the drill. *Smile* This was supposed to be unique I guess because it revealed a secret, underground world of women who have sex with women. That makes me laugh … a lot.

It looks like all sexual (or simulated) contact with men in this film involves some level of BDSM. Det. Catherine Palmer (Ellen Barkin) finds some BDSM images of her victim with men and later goes to a bar where she picks up a mechanic (Stephen Baldwin) and has rough sex with him. Odd but fine. It’s a movie. Sometimes movies are weird. I’m laughing again … a lot.

So, in Mercy we have four sad ass individuals. Det. Catherine Palmer who seems to just be … weird. Vickie the sex fiend, punishing herself with BDSM and chasing her hurt away with drugs. Mary (Karen Young) the sociopath who is mad at her mother who did not protect her from being sexually abused by her stepfather. And Dr. Dominick Broussard (Julian Sands), the therapist who sleeps with his female clients and hides the fact that he dresses like a woman when he’s alone.

Det. Catherine Palmer (Ellen Barkin) was well… weird. But the movie is weird so I guess it doesn’t matter. None of the characters were particularly remarkable. The other main character, Vickie Kittrie (Peta Wilson), was pretty boring but she did effectively play her part. You could tell she was trying very hard to hide an accent. That didn’t really fit the storyline of where she came from. She is a cool looking woman though; feature-wise, if you give a damn about that sort of thing. *Smile*

Ellen’s acting was a bit fake in some of the scenes too. It was like she was trying too hard to act manly. I do like when she curses though. Cursing is fun. I should make a movie called Fun with Cursing. Anyway, Vickie (Peta Wilson) didn’t have to pull her draws all the way down to get a pubic hair. I’m laughing again … hysterically this time.

All right. All right, one more frivolous comment. What kind of party has a bunch of women just lying around on a bed in a semi dark room doing basically nothing? What a borefest. *Smile* I lied. One more. This is also one of those weird movies where the locations look obviously “rented” or like show homes or something. They don’t look authentically lived in.

A few of the key characters, one the killer, the other a victim, are going to the same therapist, Dr. Dominick Broussard (Julian Sands), who is secretly a transvestite and sleeping with both clients. Julian Sands looks a lot better older. It’s cool when life works out that way. *Smile*

In the strange scene at the boring lesbian club, Det. Catherine Palmer (Ellen Barkin) is sending Vickie (Peta Wilson) some weird sexual signals when she sees her dead husband’s mistress at the bar and imagines herself punching the woman. It was funny. But strange and out of place. Then she and Vickie decide to leave and go to her model home where they start to make out. In the middle of making out, Det. Catherine Palmer throws Vickie to the floor (how effin rude!) and Vickie tells her the tragic story of her life.

O.K. So lets look at the meat of the storyline. Vickie revealed she comes from some rural type town and that she ran away from that life. It is later revealed that she was being sexually abused by her father and brother. She left home, running away from that but in doing so, she left her little sister to take her place and this was tearing her apart. So although she escaped, she really didn’t escape emotionally which is why she was constantly labia hopping and engaging in so much punishing behavior.

In addition, the killer, Mary (Karen Young) who was a patient of Dr. Dominick Broussard (Julian Sands), told the story of her mother marrying some rich guy, her stepfather whom she grew to adore. She tells how she grew close to her stepfather and he began to molest her even in her mother’s presence. Her mother ignored it, so she could keep her rich husband.

Mercy doesn’t get really sad until Vickie gets killed then its like “aw man, that’s sad”. And Det. Catherine Palmer looks at the photo of Vickie and her little sister and cries. And again its like “aw man, that’s sad”. There isn’t enough crying in movies these days. It works people. It works. Lord of the Rings would have been nothing without all the crying. Then Det. Catherine Palmer was like “I shall avenge you!” Ahhhh quality cinema.

It’s clear the Dr. is only being used to reveal the back story of molestation from Mary. The story really didn’t need him or any of the therapy story. Whatever happened to good ole fashioned dark underworld infiltration and investigation in cop thrillers? *Smile* But I guess they had to meet their sad character quota (no he wasn’t sad because he dressed like a woman, he was sad because he danced around his house like an idiot… oh and because he slept with his sad ass patients). Then the crazy killer had to make him feel all inadequate and stupid the morning after they had sex. He was a pretty romantic guy who just couldn’t get a break. How sad.

I’m not entirely convinced 90lb Ellen Barkin would have been able to throw a giant dog out of the window. But anyway, I also have to say, the death of the killer was obscenely disturbing to me. I’m sure if she shot me I’d stab the shit out of her too but there was just something about seeing the knife in there and her gross scream that just disturbed the hell out of me. Then Det. Catherine Palmer just lay there next to her and never looks at her. It was just … weird.

Mercy for me was a little bit of justice wrapped in nonsense. So at the end, Det. Catherine Palmer goes to BFE (beyond fucking Egypt which is another name for rural areas for those of you who aren’t hip) and gets Vickie Kittrie’s little sister. That made the movie worth watching, seriously (one reason I also liked Monsoon Wedding but I’ll blog about that later). She goes in the shack house and confronts the family. She tells them their daughter is dead and before she died she told her what the father and brother had done. Then she looks at the father like “say something stupid so I can lay you out.” I loved it! And the family is sitting there looking all guilty and shameful. So the social worker slaps them with the court order and they take the younger daughter.

This ending is significant and valuable in my opinion because rarely do you see films dealing with real issues and even rarer do you see them attempt to resolve the problem. So all of that nonsense prior to this scene was worth it because in the end, they did they right thing. That part of the story wasn’t left just hanging out there; a stain in our minds.

Damn, Mercy felt like it was 4 hours long.

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