Air 2023 Movie Review
Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis
Cinematography: Robert Richardson
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Sonny Vaccaro and Nike pursue basketball rookie Michael Jordan, creating a partnership that revolutionizes the world of sports and contemporary culture.
Air 2023 Movie Review:
I really, really loved this movie. I know it’s become a bit of an overused adage nowadays but this feels like the kind of movie we just don’t get anymore.
I’ve missed Ben Affleck as a director so much. I’ve liked every movie he’s directed so far (even Live By Night) and this movie shows just how capable he is behind the camera. His directing is a big part of the reason why this film is as captivating as it is.
He never just reverts to a simple shot/reverse shot between actors during these long dialogue scenes but instead keeps the characters moving and energetic and it keeps the scenes visually interesting.
It is also extremely well edited with the film being kept at a brisk pace with a runtime that feels just right for this story. Decades ago, the company of Nike wasn’t worth all that much, and not many athletes even wanted to be sponsored by them.
Air tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), a man who is on the verge of his career ending when he gets idea to put the entire goodwill and fortune of the Nike brand at risk. He risks everything to try and get Michael Jordan to agree to sign with them, thus designing what is widely known now as the Air Jordan shoe.
It’s a very simple story about man who knows the potential of something, while everyone around him thinks what he wants to accomplish is impossible. It’s an underdog story that’s not even directly about an athlete and it’s done incredibly well.
The star of this film is easily Alex Convery. You haven’t heard of him? Well, until today I hadn’t either. He is the screenwriter of this film and the dialogue from start to finish is what took this film from the generic true story category to something that’s a must-watch.
This is his first screenplay, ever. Yes, a film that I will currently call my favorite of the year so far, was written by a guy who had never written a feature film outside of this one (at least none that got made). The dialogue here is unbelievable. It’s consistently sharp and witty throughout and it keeps the conversations engaging without ever being showy or overwritten.
As much as I love Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue his scenes can often come across as words written by a professional screenwriter rather than genuine interactions between characters but that’s not the case here at all.
But Air does what Sorkin scripts like The Social Network and Moneyball do extremely successfully and takes very non-cinematic subject matters and makes them riveting, captivating watches. Hearing about this just made me ludicrously excited that people still get chances taken on them in Hollywood. Convery wrote a terrific screenplay here and I hope he continues to get work.
Air 2023 Movie Review Continue..
I was a bit mixed about Affleck’s choice to never directly show Michael Jordan on screen. I understand the creative choice but the attempts to hide Jordan on screen often came across as more distracting than I think it would’ve been had Jordan just been portrayed as an actual character by an actor giving a performance.
Ben Affleck does a great job directing this film, getting fantastic performances out of everyone involved. Matt Damon is committed and it’s one of his best performances in years. Jason Bateman’s dry humor is all over this movie and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Viola Davis as Michael Jordan’s mother was also great (as always), but who really stood out to me as the MVP was Chris Tucker. He’s both funny and hits all the dramatic beats his character requires. I haven’t seen him in a meaty role like this in a while and I was pleasantly surprised.
The film has both a stylish and realistic look in its cinematography, thanks to the second time collaboration between Robert Richardson and Ben Affleck. (First one is Life by Night) And we all know that Ben Affleck is a filmmaking nerd.
He has editing machines at his house and loves working in the editing room, with his best editing Oscar winner for “Argo” collaborator William Goldenberg, they have created a fast-moving, inspiring cut with Jordan’s story.
“Air” is something living, moving, and inspirational at the same time. Ben Affleck pulled something special from his directing hat once again. I hope to see more of these kinds of dramas from Hollywood.