Helmed and written by Karthik Subbaraj, Prabhudeva‘s thriller Mercury has been touted as India’s first ‘silent thriller’ in 30 years. The film stars an ensemble cast including Sananth Reddy, Deepak Paramesh, Shashank Purushotham, Anish Padmanabhan, Indhuja and Gajaraj. After the trailer of the movie was released (on 10th April 2018), Prabhudeva, at a media interaction had said that the climax of Mercury will offer an edge of the seat experience to the audiences. He also added that one will get fully immersed in the suspense and thrill elements of Mercury. Today, the film released worldwide; let’s take a look at what the critics have to say about the film.
Times of India: Prabhudheva as the entity is scary at first. But there are times when his piercing cries get a little too much and are rendered ineffective. The way how the filmmaker has tried to tie-up corporate disasters to the film’s story is commendable, but he also tries a lot to simplify the story which gets in the way of the scary parts considering the film only runs for 108 minutes. However, as thrillers go, this is one of the better ones that we have seen this year.
Firstpost: It’s no spoiler to mention that Prabhu Deva plays a crucial role in the proceedings. His character is afflicted by mercury poisoning, but beyond that, his motivations and his horrifying malevolence are superficially explained, just as Subbaraj does not deliver any sound comment on corporate negligence. The result of an absence of sub-titles is that once you have gotten the gist of a moment, you disengage from the characters and events on screen, especially in the first half hour. The young actors are convincing in their communication of joy, fear and camaraderie, but Prabhu Deva’s character is unclear and his rendition is comical at times. One of the major problems with Mercury is that the story just does not stitch together.
Scroll: In Mercury, the lack of speech functions purely on the level of a gimmick. Fortunately, the director has enough tricks up his sleeve to make the scary portions work. The best bits are in the factory, where the friends run for their lives from the spirit. The actors who play the targets of attack are very effective in conveying their helplessness, and even though Subbaraj never lets them graduate from victims to survivors, they emerge as the silent heroes of a rather noisy thriller.
Indiewire.com: The most frustrating aspect of the movie is its abrupt tonal shift as the climax dissolves into an emotional drama with a social message about the dangers of corporate greed. While obviously intended to infuse deeper meaning into what would otherwise be a wafer-thin plot, the bizarre detour disempowers the victims even further by pitting them against each other instead of the larger threat they face together. And while the historical backdrop could have made for a compelling metaphor, the clichés and heavy-handedness of ‘Mercury’ ultimately outweigh the novelty of its premise, while its sloppy social relevance angle does more to confound than clarify the disaster in question. ‘Mercury’ may be remembered as the first silent thriller in Indian cinema, but it’s far from the heart-stopper we’re looking for.
Variety.com: ‘Mercury’, which has the distinction of being the first wordless steampunk zombie eco-thriller, is a movie that’s more exotic than your average international Indian release — but also, in a weird way, less exotic. ‘Mercury’ is being marketed as a ‘silent film’, but actually, it’s not silent at all. The soundtrack is thick with realistic noise, and Santhosh Narayanan’s musical score is richly atmospheric; this is simply a sound film in which no one talks. The opening half hour, which features a party with thumping Indian heavy metal and dance music, is more than a little trying, since the film has no subtitles, and we have to work to figure out what the characters are saying to each other.