Love and Mercy begins with promise but this is subsequently dismantled.
The positives include wonderful orchestration and initially smooth linkage between the separate chronologies; they extend to the able performances and initially strong script which combine pleasingly to communicate Wilson’s delight in music.
Yet the clever sound design arranged to convey auditory delirium is overused, while sections of story are left frustratingly thin. The initially well-handled dual thread approach predictably unravels.
Ultimately the film descends into overindulgence exemplified by the overabundant dramatization of Wilson’s mental struggle and concomitant excesses pulled from Cusack and Dano. Individually striking scenes become white noise.
Love and Mercy undoubtedly gives an ambitious and complex impression of a talented musician and fascinating life. Unfortunately creative producer and financier Bill Pohlad’s revisit to the directorial role becomes a bit of a long and hard slog, regrettably warped by excess.
CAST: Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti
DIRECTOR: Bill Pohlad
WRITERs: Michael A. Lerner and Oren Moverman
SYNOPSIS: Love and Mercy tells the story of reclusive songwriter Brian Wilson (Cusack and Dano) from two perspectives: his younger days and mental decline while with the Beach Boys, and many years later whilst under the thumb of controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy (Giamatti).
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