McCaw doco gives no great in­sights

Kapi-Mana News - - GARDENING -

Chasing Great can’t rise above feel­ing like a cur­rent af­fairs pro­file piece with great pro­duc­tion val­ues and ac­cess.

This isn’t on the film-mak­ers, they – and the viewer – vic­tims of the huge dis­par­ity be­tween the mana of its sub­ject and his as­so­ci­ated suc­cesses ver­sus how lit­tle Richie McCaw has to re­veal about him­self that we haven’t pre­vi­ously heard or seen on the field.

Part ori­gin story, part re­cap of the fi­nal year of McCaw’s ca­reer prior to bow­ing out at the pin­na­cle of rugby union, Chasing Great tra­verses fa­mil­iar ground to any­one with a pass­ing aware­ness of the na­tional game and its at­ten­dant me­dia cov­er­age.

Gone are the days of the tour VHS and to some ex­tent even the re­li­able age-old earner, the ath­lete’s bi­og­ra­phy, re­placed with con­stant cov­er­age through so­cial, broad­cast and print me­dia that can’t help but di­lute the im­pact of this doc­u­men­tary.

Gor­geous as they may be, stun­ning aerial pho­tog­ra­phy and shots of McCaw’s moun­tain­ous Can­ter­burian hori­zon don’t help to con­vey any­thing about the man him­self, while uniquely ex­ten­sive ac­cess to the side­lines and dress­ing rooms of key games of­fers more, but still doesn’t de­liver ma­jor in­sights.

The im­pen­e­tra­ble na­ture of McCaw’s per­son­al­ity will have aided him im­mensely on the field, and will no doubt serve him well as his sport­ing suc­cesses re­cede into the dis­tance.

It’s very telling, though, that he char­ac­terises the film’s most re­veal­ing dis­play of emo­tion a mis­take, and states his most awk­ward mo­ment dur­ing film­ing to be the ba­nal act of do­ing a cross­word.

An en­joy­able re­cap for sports fans though it may be, one can’t help walk­ing away think­ing that ei­ther the film-mak­ers didn’t get be­neath his su­per­hu­man skin or, more likely, the amaz­ingly gifted sports­man McCaw never had the win­ning for­mula to star in a doc­u­men­tary like this in the first place. – Steve Ne­wall,

Chasing Great (G)

Di­rected by Justin Pem­ber­ton and MichelleWal­she Star­ring Richie McCaw, Gemma Flynn, Steve Hansen 105 mins


Chasing Great is an en­joy­able re­cap of Richie McCaw’s sports ca­reer, but it does not re­veal any­thing new about the man him­self.

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