The Perfect Wave: A Surfer's Glimpse into Eternity (PG)

In a word: Impacting

 

"Sure, there's some moments when the acting doesn't quite hit the mark and the film does take a while to get going but overall it's an impressive and moving retelling of McCormack's story of redemption."

It was always going to be tempting to make a film out of Ian McCormack's amazing story of how God gave him a second chance at life. So while the making of The Perfect Wave shouldn't come as a surprise, the fact it's been done so well, may.

Sure, there's some moments when the acting doesn't quite hit the mark and the film does take a while to get going but overall it's an impressive and moving retelling of McCormack's story of redemption.

McCormack, for those who don't know, was a young New Zealand surfer travelling the world in search of "the perfect wave" when, while visiting the Mauritius, he was fatally stung by box jellyfish. As McCormack tells it, he asked for God's forgiveness as he was taken to hospital where he died. Thanks to his prayers - and the ongoing faith of his mother back in New Zealand - when McCormack died, having first visited hell, he met with God who gave him a second chance of life.

The reality of the supernatural is notoriously hard to capture on film - we can all recall some shockers - and while McCormack, who now pastors a church base in London as well as travelling the world to tell his story, is on the record with saying he wished there was more of it in the film, The Perfect Wave does a good job in interpreting his experiences for an audience that will include people both with - and without - a faith.

As well as the beautiful imagery - and this is a film that will appeal to surfers with its many lingering shots of waves on the curl - there's some good acting, particularly by the likes of Scott Eastwood (the son of Clint Eastwood, he plays McCormack), Rachel Hendrix (who plays his fictional love interest Annabel), former Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd (who plays McCormack's mother) and Patrick Lyster (who plays McCormack's father). And the production team - including director, Bruce Macdonald, and producer, US veteran S Bryan Hickox, have played a big part in making this a film that should attract a broad audience.

While the story is partly true-to-life and partly fictional, the central elements are as McCormack tells them and, just as listening to him tell his story in person, they raise plenty of questions for both Christians and non-Christians to ponder. For the film doesn't attempt to answer everything - in that sense it should serve as a good way of introducing people to McCormack and his story and encourage them to look further into his story via his website.

While The Perfect Wave has had a very limited release in Australia with only three screenings which were attended by McCormack who held Q&A sessions afterwards - it is released on DVD on 19th February (available in Australia through Word Bookstores).

~ www.theperfectwave.co.za

~ www.aglimpseofeternity.org