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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Edition No 912 
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MERCURY RISING

SYNOPSIS:
Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) is an undercover FBI agent caught up in a siege that goes wrong, and his bellicose response towards his stupid superior gets him into the sin bin, on assignements like wire taps. Until the case of young Simon (Miko Hughes). The 9 year old is an autistic savant who has become the target of assassins after inadvertently deciphering a top-secret government military code in a puzzle book. Colonel Nicholas Kudrow (Alex Baldwin) is the senior National Security agent assigned to unveil the source of the codeís leak. At any cost.

"Entertaining, engaging and a sure-fire box office hit, Mercury Rising is a slick, well-paced action thriller with heart. With well established, engaging characters, Harold Becker expertly builds tension and intrigue with a well-written script which weaves complex twists and turns in this intriguing tale centered around a gifted, autistic child. Thereís plenty of star power with Bruce Willis delivering a top performance and doing what he does best. Willis is terrific as the tough, hard-nosed FBI agent with the manic streak, more than a touch of paranoia and solid heart. Itís not very different from many of his screen roles as the reluctant hero, but he manages to add great depth and sensitivity in developing a touching relationship with the child (Miko Hughes, striking as Simon). Alec Baldwin has ever-increasing charisma and maturing good looks with a substantial presence that his role requires. As in his recent performance in The Edge, Baldwin is slick, charming and charismatic, while simultaneously showing glimpses of a darker, callous, flawed and dangerous human being. Watch for the scene in the wine cellar - thereís good human psychology at work here. John Barryís complex music score is outstanding: melodic, mellow, rich and full, while also being evocative, intriguing, turbulent and thrilling. Truly a master in his field. Thereís lots of action, impressive stunts, and good anticipation with thrills to match. My only reservation is that what could have been a really strong conclusion to the film, becomes a predictable, violent, all-stunt action finish, whereas a more satisfying intellectual foray with Alex Baldwinís character would have elevated the film into something a little greater. But, hey, this is Hollywood, and subtlety isnít the name of the game. And admittedly the scenes of shattering glass on the skyscraper rooftop are visually dazzling. Mercury Rising is pulsating, top action Hollywood entertainment."
Louise Keller

"You know what you are getting here: Bruce Willis snubbed by the establishment and having to do it on his own, this time protecting a vulnerable young boy with autism. To the filmís credit, there is a genuine, if brief, outline of the condition, just enough to alert the ill-informed that it is not a mental illness and can be managed. It is also welcome that young Simon doesnít become miraculously cured by Willis, although of course the obligatory hug at the end is securely in place. I agree totally with Louise (above), the ending blows the opportunity for something a bit more sophisticated, but thatís just me (and her). So, yes, a tad predictable and formulaic, but gee whizz, itís well done formula, and escapism doesnít come much slicker than this. I havenít read the novel, but it should be a ripper."
Andrew L. Urban



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CRITICAL COUNT
Positive: 2
Negative: 0
Mixed: 0
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See Paul Fischer's interview with
KIM DICKENS

MERCURY RISING (M)
(US)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Chi McBride, Miko Hughes, Kim Dickens, Robert Stanton, Bodhi Pine Elfman, Carrie Preston, L.I. Ginter, Peter Stormare, Kevin Conway, John Carroll Lynch, Kelley Hazen, John Doman, Richard Riehle, Chad Lindberg

DIRECTOR: Harold Becker

PRODUCER: Brian Grazer, Karen Kahela

SCRIPT: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal (based on the novel Simple Simon by Ryne Douglas Peardon)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Seresin

EDITOR: Peter Honess

MUSIC: John Barry

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrizia Von Brandenstein

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: April 9, 1998

Video Release: June 24, 1999
Video Distributor: CIC
RRP: $24.95







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