The average viewer knows Ben Affleck as Batman in the DC cinematic universe by Zack Snyder. In particularly difficult cases, he is remembered as Daredevil from the unsuccessful 2003 film. However, Affleck is not only an outstanding actor, but also a director and screenwriter, as he demonstrated to everyone with his 2012 film “Argo”. In the film “The Way Back,” he ventured into the territory of sports dramas combined with stories of corporate intrigue. In the review below, we will tell you how the project turned out in the end.
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina
Year of release: 2023
In 1984, Nike is searching for ways to strengthen its position in the sports shoe market. One of their representatives, Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon), sees potential in young basketball player Michael Jordan. Despite skepticism from others, Vaccaro is convinced that a contract with Jordan and a new shoe series dedicated to him will take sneaker culture to a new level. However, he must first navigate the nuances of corporate life and sports marketing.
“Eir” is not an easy film to watch, for several reasons. One of the main ones is that the plot heavily relies on marketing and business terminology. This is similar to “The Big Short”, where the focus was on stockbrokers. However, “Eir” does not have Margot Robbie in a bathtub to explain the technicalities in a simplified way.
Instead, “Eir” offers textured and dynamic characters who manage to shine even within the strict corporate culture. The film is built around dialogues, and the character development is one of the main reasons for its success. And the film succeeds in this aspect.
It is a pleasure to watch the duo of Damon and Ben Affleck, who are real-life best friends and have great on-screen chemistry. Watching their interactions is a delight.
The film captivates and sometimes evokes genuine emotions, even in seemingly mundane moments. The local intrigues and somewhat idealistic attempts to make the world a better place are engaging. After all, even sneakers can influence social consciousness.
“Air” is a kind of declaration of love to all people who have turned footwear into a whole layer of culture. Today, the pursuit of new sneaker models has turned into a fierce hobby, and the difference in colors and lace length can cause heated disputes. Affleck, together with screenwriter Alex Conway, managed to perfectly convey the origins of such trends.
The film is very American in many ways, relying heavily on cultural peculiarities of the USA. Pragmatism here is combined with almost infantile belief that real wonders are happening somewhere inside gloomy offices and soulless corporations. “Air” brilliantly shows that these wonders are possible.
Michael Jordan himself, around whom the plot revolves, is practically not shown in the film. He has no dialogue lines and resembles more of a shadow, a swift silhouette. And this is also a powerful screenwriting idea.
“Air” focuses not on the loud star, but on the people who work in the shadows. Those who decide the future of companies and entire generations with a couple of phrases. Sometimes their decisions are not very thoughtful and practically chaotic. But it is from such chaos that true beauty is born.
Perhaps Affleck once again wants to fight for an “Oscar,” so he made a uncompromising and complex film, which requires understanding of sports, business, marketing, and American culture of the 80s. There are many layers in “Air,” which for fans is pure pleasure to decipher.
But even if you don’t understand anything mentioned above, “Air” will still bring you pleasure. It does so at the cost of an idealistic, ephemeral, and almost elusive feeling of making the world a better place. To evoke such emotions with a film about sneakers is already a huge achievement. It is quite likely that after watching, you will finally buy your first pair of Air Jordans.
- Excellent portrayal of all characters at the highest level
- Accurate depiction of corporate and business culture nuances
- Skillful combination of idealistic aspirations and corporate pragmatism
- Outstanding chemistry between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
- Some complexity in the plot
- Strong dependence on the cultural peculiarities of 1980s Americans
Conclusion: “Good Will Hunting” is a wonderful and engaging film, even though its description and structure may seem confusing. It transforms a sad premise into a triumph of human genius. Watching this spectacle is enjoyable throughout the film’s 112-minute runtime.