The Merger

It’s [a merger] when one shit team joins up with another shit team to make a slightly less shit team!

Year Released : 2018

Director : Mark Grentell

Cast : Damian Callinan, John Howard, Kate Mulvany, Fayssal Bazzi, Rafferty Grierson, Nick Cody, Joshn McConville and Angus McLaren

So it is currently February 9th and right now I should be on holiday in America for two weeks, but complications post surgery means that I am not, so instead I’m going to fill my time at work and by catching up on doing some reviews for this film blog.

I’ve been slacking a lot recently, albeit down to a variety of factors beyond my control, mainly my laptop being awful, but after finally getting that working I’ve decided to watch and review “The Merger”, a movie about an Aussie rules football (basically alternative rugby). I know pretty much sod all about rugby in general, so have no chance with the Australian version of the game, so whilst I try to think of something insightful in this section, I really can’t for this.

I am mildly optimistic as I’ve liked a few films from down under before, such as “The Loved Ones”, so we’ll see……

Plot

Former Aussie rules star Troy (Callinan) is a social outcast as people think that he is responsible for the closing of the local mill. One day he is offered the coaching job at The Roosters, a new team that has formed as part of a merger, but it takes a lot convince him and the town that he is right for the job.

When everyone finally agrees, he signs up some refugees to join the current playing squad, mainly to help rebuild the clubhouse that has to be demolished due to asbestos, but this further angers some people of the town as many fear that the influx of migrants is creating issues for the locals.

Can they ever co-exist to create a winning team?

Is ‘The Merger’ a decent enough sports film?

This is one of those movies that has some bright moments, but is ultimately very flawed. I’ll start with the positives and that is that there were a few quotes that genuinely made me laugh, such as when Sayyid is asked if the photos on the wall are of his family, and he responds “no, do you really think Sayyid is a creep that has photos of strangers on his wall?”

The comedy that is actually genuinely funny extends to little running gags throughout, such as the meetings regularly being interrupted by morris dancers and battle reenactment enthusiasts that have booked the room. However, aside from the odd funny moment here and there, I can’t really think of much that is praiseworthy.

“The Merger” takes far, far too long to get going, and even when it does it is surprisingly politically packed. It would be like if a British movie was created about a football team trying to win whilst the movie had Brexit as a heavy plot point. Whilst some movies, such as “Remembers the Titans” have used the racial tensions and sports combination effectively, it is not really a combination that works in the comedy genre.

Finally, I have to talk about the pacing. As I say it takes a long time to get going, and unfortunately I was struggling to keep interest by the time it does start moving forwards. I’m not saying it is a bad film at all, but the lack of focus does make it somewhat tedious in places.

Summary

Whilst there are bright sparks of comedy throughout the movie, they aren’t enough to keep the pacing of the movie consistent, and unfortunately it is really hard to keep an interest the longer the movie goes off.

The political message is really appropriate for this particular genre, or at least not as heavily as the film has it, which was largely off-putting.

Maybe this will be one that Australians will enjoy, but outside of that area of the world, it is unlikely to hit home.

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