Film Review – Mary (2019)

Fun, if generic take on the infamous Mary Celeste story. Gary Oldman buys an obviously cursed boat at auction because it reminds him of his first-ever boat and takes his family on a very doomed journey.

The script lost me very early on when Emily Mortimer’s character, rightfully furious at her husband buying a pile of junk without discussing it with her, thereby placing his family into dire financial straits, literally begs his forgiveness because she didn’t support his “vision”. Nothing says “written by a man with a cursory knowledge of women” than women begging men for forgiveness for not supporting their fool antics. It’s especially frustrating as writer Anthony Jaswinski wrote the truly excellent The Shallows which was a brilliant showcase for Blake Lively. Mortimer’s character is also an adulterer which I thought was going to play more into the narrative than it actually did. I hope Emily Mortimer bought something nice with her money from this given she plays a character whose defining characteristics are “wife, mother, adulterer.”

The script has some issues – the jump scare at the beginning whilst well executed doesn’t actually make sense and it’s completely unbelievable that neither Oldman or Mortimer’s characters checked the provenance of the boat until they were at sea. The notion of the boat “taking people over” is a good one but isn’t taken far enough and unfortunately CGI jump scare ladies with black hair are just passe now. The director Michael Goi seemed like a really lovely man and the visuals are strong so I’m looking forward to what he does next.

Slick looking Hollywood horror which nicks the ending from Fallen. Oldman is impressively restrained and Mortimer does the very best she can with the material provided.

Save yourself this mess and go listen to Astonishing Legends’ episodes on the Mary Celeste instead.

1.5/5 Stars

Mary had it’s world premire at Frightfest and is due to be released on 11 October in the US