The final film directed by Curtis Hanson (before his death in 2016), who could deliver with films as "L.A. Confidential" (1997) and "8 Mile" (2002) in the past, was not able to see his vision for "Chasing Mavericks" through in the season 2011/2012, so that fellow director Michael Apted needed to finish the picture in order to make the U.S. release date on October 26th 2012 for Fox 2000 Pictures (an affiliate of 20th Century Fox). The result misses a directorial signature and further gripping situations to connect with an audience.
A typical story of living the American dream beyond borders and restrictions in case of character of Jay Moriarity, performed by an pale to faceless looking commoner Jonny Wetson, who gets mentored by the surfing legend Frosty Hesson, portrayed by an distressed looking Gerard Butler. Both actors can not build the chemistry to bring "Chasing Mavericks" to life. Instead the movie drips through sequences of beautifully shot point-break-waves and underwater scenes, which feel disconnected from any character evolution.
The main character's purpose or better to obsession of chasing the perfect wave, the maverick, gets neglected through uninspired screen-writing by Kario Salem, who gives the Jay Moriarity the all-too-well-known treatments of being absent from school, working for his surf board, getting to know the girl of his dreams and must fight off an far from hostile looking bully gang.
In between Jay meets with mentor Frosty to analyze waves, write reports on his observations and gets the occasional free meal, because his mother, performed by an recalling "Leaving Las Vegas" Elisabeth Shue, is unable to take care of her son and build a proper relationship, which towards the end of the movie fades away into oblivion.
All the relationship in "Chasing Mavericks" seem underdeveloped. Character conflicts feel close to indifferent to the audience. Nevertheless there had been a chance to make the relationship between Jay & Frosty charged-enough to build some kind of suspense for Maverick-riding-final, when Frosty's wife dies under him on an occasional visit by Jay at their house. The young and the old man have no common moment to deal with Frosty's loss, which would have build a connection to the opening sequence rescue by Frosty, who pulls out death-seeking, reckless-behaving Jay out of the water of razor-sharp rocks all-around to become his substituted father.
Hard to recover, who directed what in this picture, so "Chasing Mavericks" stands there as an rare example, when over-exhausted artists get to the point of giving up their profession for the sake of a peace-seeking homestead. The conclusion of "Chasing Mavericks" is unsatisfactory and underlines the fact that a director needs to be in his full state of power and balance to take a movie production on, which deals with the dream of self-fulfillment itself.
© 2017 Felix Alexander Dausend (Cinemajesty Entertainments LLC)