Friday, June 11, 2021

Chasing Comets Review: For God and Rugby

Dan Ewing	...	Chase Isabel Lucas	Isabel Lucas	...	Brooke George Houvardas	George Houvardas	...	The Rev Kat Hoyos	Kat Hoyos	...	Dee Bjorn Stewart	Bjorn Stewart	...	Beefa Deborah Galanos	Deborah Galanos	...	Mary Laurence Brewer	Laurence Brewer	...	Randall Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Kirsty Lee Allan	Kirsty Lee Allan	...	Leona John Batchelor	John Batchelor	...	Coach Munsey Alistair Bates	Alistair Bates	...	Roy Lance Bonza	Lance Bonza	...	Rusty Tony Chu	Tony Chu	...	Kin Gary Eck	Gary Eck	...	Kev Mcosker Sarah Furnari	Sarah Furnari	...	Estelle

Release date: June 11, 2021 (U.S. Digital)
Running time: 100 minutes
Director: Jason Perini
Writer: Jason Stevens
Stars: Dan Ewing, Isabel Lucas, George Houvardas, Kat Hoyos, Bjorn Stewart, Deborah Galanos, Laurence Brewer

Wagga is a country town that loves its sport but is divided over its loyalty for the rival codes, AFL and NRL. It's in this setting that we find our hero Chase "daylight." Chase's dream to play in the NRL is falling by the wayside, just like his relationship to Brooke. At his lowest point, Chase takes a leap of faith to sort out his life. But living this out is a far greater challenge than he imagined, especially among team mates who won't let him give up his partying ways without a fight. Chase's leap of faith might possibly be the worst decision ever he has ever made.

Kate McNamara	...	Rachel Ash Meeraiya	Ash Meeraiya	...	Comet Justin Melvey	Justin Melvey	...	Sam Low Rhys Muldoon	Rhys Muldoon	...	Warren Low Dirk Nagel	Dirk Nagel	...	Supporter in the grandstand David Nash	David Nash	...	Extra Daniel Needs	Daniel Needs	...	Comets Player #2 Brenton Parkes	Brenton Parkes	...	Actor Courtney Powell	Courtney Powell	...	Supporter Katrina Risteska	Katrina Risteska	...	April Richard Somerton	Richard Somerton	...	Comets Player #3 David Thacker	David Thacker	...	Self - Host Stan Walker	Stan Walker	...	Rhys Stewart Florence Florens	Florence Florens	...	Tom's WAG (uncredited) Melanie Gail Stirling	Melanie Gail Stirling	...	Supporter (uncredited)
Chasing Comets is a combination of a lot of different types of films, all of which come together in a mixed bag.  It has sports drama and some light-hearted comedy.  It has debauchery from the rugby side of it but it also has a faith forward message.  It has a really bright style and an irreverent tone at times, but also serious subject matter other times.  And this tone leads to some interesting aspects of the film.  I initially didn't realize that faith would play a pretty prominent role in the movie, and even when it was introduced the movie didn't feel preachy or in your face.  The characters who shared their faith were more internalized than I am used to and not pushy.  And they were flawed, either presently or heavily in the past, which led to characters that felt more realistic and less like paradigms of virtue.  

And although the cast is mixed, there are some very good performances in this film.  I liked Dan Ewing as Chase, though I enjoyed his character much more in the second half of the film than the first.  But George Houvardas as the reverend was a welcome surprise.  His character was a good listener and offered advice, but never felt like he was being too forceful.  And this led to the development of a great relationship between him and Chase.  And Isabel Lucas as Brooke was quite good, though she had far too few scenes.  And what kind of sports drama would be complete without some good sports action.  Chasing Comets doesn't have as much in the way of actual gameplay as I would have liked, but there is plenty from practice and some good camaraderie between the teammates.  There is some fun ribbing, some boisterous personalities, and some genuine care.  And it also has some really good locker room pep talks that make sports movies so much fun.

However, Chasing Comets does have its flaws, and first is the hit or miss humor.  Maybe it was a cultural thing but some of the jokes just didn't land for me.  There were some funny moments and genuine laughs, but the humor sometimes was off .  Also, some of the characters were very toxic and seemed to make bad choices almost intentionally.  It was strange because later those character become ones you root for, but it led to an overdramatic, unrealistic start to this otherwise enjoyable drama.  And I also couldn't tell how much of the movie was a true story.  It had some hints that it was based on real experiences, but the movie was always coy when it was approaching this.  

Chasing Comets has a positive overall message, good rugby camaraderie, and a measured faith-based message that feels genuine and never preachy.  

Rent it.

Sarah Holmes	...	executive producer Jon Mak	...	executive producer Naomi Mitchell	...	line producer Murray Offord	...	executive producer Jason Perini	...	executive producer Paul Rudolph	...	executive producer Jason Stevens	...	producer Rebecca Stevens	...	executive producer David Thacker	...	executive producer
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Chasing Comets is available digitally on June 11, 2021.  

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