The excitement I felt at sitting down to watch Odd Man Rush, a Canadian film about the dream of pro hockey, was palpable.
I’ve loved hockey movies forever, from the children’s flicks Mighty Ducks to the relentless, hilarious Goon, and Slap Shot in between, it’s always a rush to watch the sport onscreen.
I wanted to love Odd Man Rush — I really did — but in the end, this ambitious movie just didn’t stick the landing.
This story of Harvard’s Bobby Sanders and his move to Sweden to play in the minors is an exploration of hockey as a career, the hard business of the sport, and knowing when to hang up your jersey for good.
When Bobby (Jack Mulhern) meets local Elin (the wonderful Elektra Kilbey), he begins to re-evaluate his dedication to a sport that has an expiration date, unless he makes the NHL. With a nagging knee, he’s not sure that will come to fruition.
For all the dramatics, you’d think OMR would be more engaging. While the attempt to go a different direction than other movies of the same ilk was so appreciated, it was the filmmaking that failed.
It’s a meandering film where revelations come from nowhere, and it spends less time on the ice than any hockey movie should. The ending is perhaps one of the most abrupt in recent memory, and took me right out of the picture. Another 10 minutes would have elevated this film greatly.
The performers are game: Jack Mulhern is a dynamic lead, Elektra Kilbey is wonderful as the love interest, and Dylan Playfair proves he can do more than Letterkenny’s regularly allows him.
It’s the script, adapted from Bill Keenan’s book, that could glide the proceedings forward a bit better. Odd Man Rush isn’t a bad movie — it just isn’t the buzzer-beating, interesting affair it could have been.