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Chasing Mavericks - Review

Chasing Mavericks

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

GIVEN the presence of two good directors, Chasing Mavericks should have been a great deal better than it is. Sadly, this is a disappointingly average movie that cannot seem to resist the need for soggy dramatisation.

Inspired by the true story of Californian surfing legend Jay Moriarty (played by Jonny Weston), the film chronicles his rise to fame atop the mythical Mavericks (or giant waves) of the title with the help of another Santa Cruz hero, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler).

In doing so, it also follows Moriarty’s relationship with his booze-addicted mother (Elisabeth Shue), his first love and the way in which he rose above his outsider status, as well as examining Hesson’s own inability to successfully mix family and work commitments with his passion for the sea.

To be fair, Curtis (LA Confidential) Hanson and Michael (Gorillas In The Mist) Apted do combine to create some memorable moments, especially once the film hits the waves.

The surfing footage, especially on the big screen, is often awe-inspiring, capturing the beauty and intensity of the waves, and exposing the glory and folly of attempting to ride them.

They also draw an impressive performance from Butler, who almost died while filming after becoming caught underneath a wave, as well as reliable support from Shue.

But whenever the film gets back on dry land and reverts to bog-standard movie conventions, it struggles to hold the interest as you can virtually tick off the cliches en route to the inevitable feel-good climax.

Chasing Mavericks is therefore a mixed bag of a film. There’s much to enjoy in the surfing footage, while the central relationship between Butler and Weston is nicely done. But the frequent detours into melodrama are unnecessary and ill-advised.

Hence, what should have been an inspirational tribute to the tragically short life of Moriarty only rarely hits the heights that it should.

Related: Gerard Butler reflects on his near-death experience

Certificate: PG
Running time: 116mins
UK Release Date: July 5, 2013