A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Caring for your loved ones, trying to protect your family. However, the methods adopted by the central character to do this are highly questionable.
Positive Role Models
Tom loves his daughter and wants what is best for her, but struggles to control his emotions. It is implied that this has left him angry and isolated.
The movie is a chamber piece where mainly one character, the White male lead, appears on-screen. Some gender and national diversity among the supporting cast, who we mostly hear but don't see. Brief discussion of mental health conditions, but these also play into some lazy cliches.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Young girl disappears under mysterious circumstances -- recordings of her in distress are heard. Verbal threats of violence. Discussion about committing arson. Off-screen deaths.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference to sex and nudity, but nothing graphic.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language used includes "bloody," "f--k," "f---ing," "crap," "c--t," "arse," "d--k," "hell," and "s--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Reference to heavy drinking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mercy Road is an Australian psychological drama about a troubled father, Tom (Luke Bracey), who is driving through the night in a bid to locate his missing daughter. Tom receives calls from various people as he travels, with the mysterious circumstances of his daughter's disappearance slowly becoming clear. The movie's overall tone is tense, as Tom grows increasingly frustrated with a manipulative man known only as "The Associate" (Toby Jones) who holds a strange power over him. Owing to the movie's format -- Tom mainly appears alone on-screen -- there is little diversity, which we mostly hear in the form of his ex-wife Terri (Alex Malone) and clips of his daughter Ruby (Martha Kate Morgan) talking. Malone and Morgan do appear on-screen briefly, via a video call on Tom's mobile. Strong language features throughout, with multiple variations of "f--k" used often and several uses of "c--t." There are brief references to sex, nudity, and violence, but none of them are graphic. It is asserted that Tom has mental health issues and that his drinking has caused him problems. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With a central lead who's effectively trapped in his car as he drives, comparisons between this Australian thriller and the well-regarded Locke are inevitable. However, Mercy Road is a much pulpier and more disjointed affair than Steven Knight's considered, slow burning drama. Here we join sweat-soaked deadbeat dad Tom, played by a frantic Bracey, as the story drip feeds us clues about why his 12-year-old daughter is missing. Unfortunately it quickly becomes apparent that three screenwriters couldn't turn this into a compelling story, or one that even makes much sense. Most of the dialogue is between Tom and the mysterious "Associate," played by a disembodied Toby Jones, doing his best to inject some urgency and mystery into a script with so little to say that it resorts to withholding any pertinent information about pretty much anything. Jones and Bracey could be forgiven for having to convince themselves, let alone the audience, that what we're watching is worth their time as well as ours. There is a resolution of sorts, eventually, but not before some well-worn mental health cliches have been dusted off to avoid the writers having to fashion anything resembling interconnected plot points. As road movies go, Mercy Road is the cinematic equivalent of a busted GPS.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.