Recently I’ve had this feeling that when it comes to films, I really want to branch out in terms of genres. I won’t lie, there is a small part of me that is starting to get superhero fatigue. The writing is getting lazier and they’re just relying on CGI now. So when my brother asked if I wanted to sit down and watch something quite different from all of those fantasy epics, I instantly said yes!
We decided to watch ‘Air’. The film tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro, the talent scout of Nike’s Basketball division in the 80s. Sonny has been tasked by Nike, and in particular the CEO, Phil Knight, to find a few players to sign for Nike’s Basketball division. They know that they can’t compete with Adidas and Converse who were leading the market in Basketball trainers at the time. Sonny is reluctant to chase after any of the picks that Nike’s marketing VP Rob Strasser has come up with. One evening whilst rewatching tapes of the top 20 picks from that year, he begins to focus on the number three draft for that year, Michael Jordan. Jordan has clearly expressed his desire to partner with Adidas but something changes in Vaccaro and he becomes obsessed with the idea that they should try to sign Jordan. Despite being told by both Knight and Strasser that this would be impossible, Vacarro reaches out to Micheal’s agent at the time, David Falk. Falk laughs at Vaccaro and tells him that Michael isn’t going to be interested in the slightest. Sonny doesn’t budge and then decides that he is going to approach Michael’s family. When he gets to the house he is met by James and Deloris Jordan; Michael’s parents. Sonny does his pitch for Deloris and she is impressed. She asks Michael to at least hear Nike’s pitch. Despite the initial trepidation from Knight and Strasser, following this news, they all rally behind him and get to designing a prototype shoe to show the Jordans. The rest is history as they say!
In the lead role as Sonny Vaccaro was Matt Damon. Damon is a powerhouse in the acting community and he brings all his chops to this role. Supporting him as Phil Knight is his real-life best friend, Ben Affleck. Now, I know Affleck has had a rough couple of years personally, but it’s quite evident that he’s channelled that into picking roles that suit him better and this was certainly one of them. Playing Rob Strasser was Jason Bateman. Bateman is an actor whose facial expressions are just on point and although his dry humour is definitely suited more to comedy films, he was a good addition to the cast. There were small roles played by Chris Tucker and Marlon Wayans. Rounding off the main was Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan, Michael’s mother. Now Davis is arguably one of the best actresses in the world and with every single thing I see her in, I’m more and more convinced that she has unlimited range. ‘Air’ was no different, she put in an excellent performance. One of the talking points about this film was who the filmmakers were going to cast as Michael Jordan and they deliberately made sure that this person’s face was never seen and they had no lines. They said it was to make sure that it didn’t detract away from the rest of the film and they absolutely did the right thing in my opinion.
As I said before, I’ve recently had this bout of superhero fatigue. In fact, it might be a blockbuster fatigue. I’m not saying that I’m going to stop watching those films, I couldn’t do that, but I do want to watch more films like this. ‘Air’ was in my opinion an excellent piece of cinema. The plot was not complicated in the slightest, and so relied completely on the storytelling, acting and directing ability. As I’ve said before the acting was good and that’s why at no point did I feel bored during the watch. Affleck’s acting chops may come into question now and again by many people, not me, but other people, however, I don’t think anyone can say that the man doesn’t know how to direct a good film. Hopefully, we’ll see more projects like this from him soon.
Now, you may feel that cinematography is less important in a film of this calibre and genre, and you’d be severely wrong. The film is set in the 80s and in between the key scenes there are small montages of camera work that perfectly depict what life like then was like. Linked to that heavily was the choice of music. There was banger after banger in this soundtrack and it had me pumped the entire time. Overall, this was a film that I was not expecting to enjoy as much as I did and if you’re looking to watch a simple but masterful piece of cinema, give it a go!