Monday 4 September 2023

Movie Review: Air (2023)

Genre: Biographical Sports Drama
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina
Running Time: 112 minutes

Synopsis: It's 1984, and Nike is best known as a running shoe company. Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) is a talent spotter in the fledgling, under-budgeted basketball division. He recognizes the potential of new NBA recruit Michael Jordan, and decides to stake his reputation on signing him to an endorsement deal. Sonny has to convince skeptical Nike boss Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) that competitors Adidas and Converse can be out-maneuvered. He decides to reach out directly to Jordan's mother Deloris (Viola Davis), bypassing obstructive agent Rob Strasser (Chris Messina), but convincing the Jordans to even just meet with Nike will require an unprecedented effort.

What Works Well: The remarkable behind-the-scenes story of Air Jordan is a reminder that Nike was once the scrappy underdog on the basketball court. But one deal can change - and make - fortunes, and Sonny Vaccaro's persistence rewrote the rule book on sports superstar celebrity endorsements. Alex Convery's script is always alert to opportunities for humour drawn from audacity and character quirks, and director Ben Affleck maintains focus on the essential human connections residing at the deal's heart.

What Does Not Work As Well: The washed-out colour palette is unnecessarily sickly, and only so much drama can be squeezed out of a series of meetings with a well-known outcome.

Conclusion: Vision, courage, and grit combine to just do it.

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