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Our Review of Chasing Mavericks
Despite it’s cinephile-friendly name, “Chasing Mavericks” isn’t about old west cowboys or finally locking down a script for “Top Gun 2”…mavericks in this case are mythological waves that spring into reality one summer for the few surfers bold enough to seek them out. The film is based on the life of surfing legend Jay Moriarty, who while still a teenager rode one of the biggest waves in history.
Gerard Butler plays Frosty, a local legend in Santa Cruz who finds a kindred spirit in the younger Jay (Johnny Weston)…despite his protests and reluctance to take on an apprentice, their bond is undeniable and soon Frosty is coaching Jay on how to ride mavericks, some of the most difficult waves in the world. The on-screen chemistry between Butler and Weston is good enough to buy into the film’s sports movie mentality; and the engaging Butler helps the viewer stay invested in the ultimate outcome of this mentor/padouin trek (though I still have no idea what country of origin his accent is from…)
The actual surfing footage is some of the most awe-inspiring reels to ever hit the big screen; it’s enough to at once make you wish you could surf and feel relief that you’re not currently on top of what equates to a watery 5-story building. But whereas most films based on overcoming the odds would leave one feeling inspired, the resolution of this film may make you wonder what exactly the message is: are these guys heroes for living life to the fullest? Or are they thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies taking foolish risks at the expense of their loved ones?
The morality can be deabted all night long (and hey, sometimes that’s why we like movies in the first place, right?), but as a film “Chasing Mavericks” has an engaging story that is capably acted on land, and only gets more thrilling once it decides to get wet chasing mavericks.