Air Movie Review - Benjamin Garrett
Leave it to a talented filmmaker like Ben Affleck to have you rooting for a multi-billion dollar sports conglomerate as the underdog, because that’s exactly what he’s done with Air. This is the true story of how a team of Nike marketing executives acquired the greatest basketball player of all time, and it’s pretty damn inspiring.
Now don’t be confused; this is not a Michael Jordan movie, or even a basketball movie. No, this is a sports marketing movie wrapped around the biggest athlete acquisition Nike ever made. Set in a time when the company was trailing behind Adidas and Converse in basketball sponsorship, this story focuses on an over-eager marketing scout determined to land the deal that would slingshot Nike past the competition.
Matt Damon plays this character with such passion and determination, making it easy to get in on his enthusiasm. The way Affleck angles the story around this character, instead of Nike as a company, gives Air an underdog feeling that’s impossible not to get behind. Though some of the tension is lost, as we all know the eventual outcome, the journey is nevertheless thrilling. From Viola Davis as Jordan’s no-nonsense mother, to Affleck as Nike’s headstrong CEO, the entire supporting cast is incredibly strong as well.
I do have an issue with how Michael Jordan is portrayed here. He’s basically a faceless figure, always shot from behind or afar, like George Steinbrenner in Seinfeld. It’s silly, and obvious in the handful of scenes where Jordan appears, that they’re purposely obstructing his face. I understand Jordan is an icon, but I’m sure there’s a talented actor that could’ve brought a young version of the legend to life. Also, while the soundtrack is full of bangers, the needle drops are overdone. I get it… it’s 1984.
Air smartly presents Nike’s iconic deal with Jordan as an exciting underdog story. Thanks to sharp direction and a great cast, it works beautifully. Despite Jordan being nearly absent from a film that hinges on him, and too many needle drops, this is an inspiring true story that sports fans and casual audiences alike can get behind. Thinking of catching this one in theatres? Just Do It.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett