Chasing Mavericks  (2012)    73/100

Rating : 73/100                                                                       116 Min        PG

Gerard Butler stars in this ‘Karate Kid’ esque (both also star Elisabeth Shue, coincidentally) true story about how one man’s lifelong love of surfing helps inspire a similar desire in his young neighbour, Jay Moriarity, whom he reluctantly takes on as his protege in order to train him to tackle the giant, dangerous waves at the North California location of Mavericks, waves that have claimed the lives of some of the biggest names in surfing and are formed by an unusual rock formation under the water (the name comes from that of the dog who accompanied the location’s founding surfers). The film does stray dangerously close to Nicholas Sparks level melodrama, with the small town, the small town bully, the small town cute girl the protagonist wants to get with, and the ever present danger of the waves, but it eventually sidesteps this dead end territory and fleshes out as a pretty decent drama.

Newcomer Jonny Weston does a good job as the wave hungry Jay, and the film’s visuals of the surfing, and the fact that it’s a true story, are its biggest strengths, with the waves at the end looking sufficiently catastrophic – projecting surfing as at once deadly (Butler himself almost drowned and was hospitalised whilst filming after a succession of waves pulled him under for forty seconds), and a lot of fun. Co-helmed by respected directors Michael Apted (‘Gorillas in the Mist’ 88) and Curtis Hanson (‘L.A. Confidential’ 97), the shoot was difficult and dangerous, going on for a lot longer than expected thanks to bad luck with the weather – all the surfers featured, bar the two leads, are professionals.

Have a peek at the interview below with Butler and Weston, with one of them constantly interrupting the other …

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