Chasing Great (2016), Dir. Justin Pemberton & Michelle Walshe

Chasing Great (2016), Dir. Justin Pemberton & Michelle Walshe
The body will do what the mind wants.
— Richie McCaw, Chasing Great (2016)

Stars: Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Graham Henry, Steve Hansen.
Director: Justin Pemberton & Michelle Walshe.
Screenplay: Justin Pemberton & Michelle Walshe.

How do you sum up a man that has New Zealand's pride on his shoulders? This is what Chasing Great tries to accomplish but instead of it being an intrigue into the man, rather it becomes a well trodden story of the All Blacks. However as I am one of those New Zealanders who's pride was on the line, this is still a captivating watch.

Chasing Great's main problem is that it focuses on a man that we know already. Richie McCaw is a solid guy; grew up in the South Island on a farm in the middle of nowhere, loved Rugby from an early age and set his goals to become a "G.A.B.", aka a Great All Black. The problem is is that is exactly what he did, he accomplished his dream in a very easy, streamline way that begs the question of why show this part of his life in the first place.

McCaw, though is a fierce no. 7 Jersey is no Jonah Lomu, Dan Carter, or Colin Mead. With his position on the field there is no individual glory, he is just a perfect team player who can set up the try, make way for another teammate to take the ball and boot it down field, swerve past the defence, and race to the try line. So what this documentary could have done was show the game from McCaw's perceptive, have him breakdown how he Captain's one of the greatest sports team in history. Instead we just get the highlight reel of the team which is a pity if anyone wanted to see just how the All Black's greatest Captain was able to help produce the best lineup we have ever seen.

However in saying that, I really did love watching how this documentary built up the tension within the games themselves. If you enjoy watching Rugby then you will enjoy watching Chasing Great. So it looks as though I didn't get much out of this documentary; I did, just not really from the man this documentary is dedicated to. So either it needed to delve deeper with McCaw into how he captains or they needed to make it an All Black documentary, sadly we got something in-between.

What this did for me though is again highlight New Zealand's toxic love for our national team. We expect so much from these men that we turn on them the second they show any type of failure. A large highlight comes from the 2007 Rugby World Cup NZ vs. France quarterfinal game and how we all reacted to that loss is actually quite embarrassing. We can't take it, we wanted blood for the humiliation of failing on the world stage. We as a nation cannot seem to remove Nationhood from these men on the field. This is a game, a great one but no ones lives are at stake here, we need to learn to let it go.