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Air Is A Winning Drama, A Welcome Return For Affleck & Damon {Review}

Ben Affleck makes a winning return behind the camera with Air, featuring outstanding performances from the entire cast.

Air does something many wouldn't expect and makes a movie about marketing one of the most riveting dramas of the year so far. Using a unique lens to tell the story of how executives at Nike risked it all to sign a then-rookie Michael Jordan to a deal, we get a quasi-Jordan biopic without any of the trappings those usually fall into. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, and Viola Davis all are fantastic, and Affleck makes an even more welcome return behind the camera. This is one you should seek out.

Air Is A Winning Drama, A Welcome Return For Affleck & Damon {Review}
Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan in Air. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Air Is Exactly The Film Affleck Needed To Make

Smartly, Affleck set about telling this story from the point of view of one Sonny Vaccaro, a fascinating man who truly was ahead of his time. Damon hits a level he hasn't in a long while in portraying him. It was the only way he could go toe to toe with yet another powerhouse performance from Viola Davis as Michael's mother, Deloris. The scenes with them together are the kind that makes you feel bad for blinking. When you think Davis has reached her peak as an actress, she finds another gear and raises her game to another level, not unlike MJ. When they are not onscreen, Chris Tucker and Bateman are there to deliver solid supporting performances, with both balancing the drama and laughs with expert ease. This film has more than a few genuinely laugh-out-loud scenes, and Affleck does a great job hitting the sweet spot between comedy and drama.

Which is exactly what he needs to do as a director. After going three for three with his first films behind the camera, Air is the type of light and the actor-driven piece that is a great way to get back out there. He has already mastered the art of the walk and talk, both to provide excitement and prevent us from letting our attention drift when the pace slows down a bit. The script from Alex Convery has a delicate touch, and the actors sink their teeth into it. Nowhere does Affleck have more at stake than the final scenes with Damon and Davis when they are finalizing the deal on the phone. The quick cuts that zoom in more and more as they go back and forth will have you holding your breath, even though you already know what is happening.

Air Is A Winning Drama, A Welcome Return For Affleck & Damon {Review}
Matthew Maher as Peter Moore, Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro, and Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser in Air. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Sure, not everything happens as it did in real life, as this story has been told many times in many books and articles. And they don't go into the exciting life outside of Nike that Vaccaro led, which is not why we are here. Air works so well mainly because of Affleck's restraint when dealing with its subject. The second you put an actor into those shoes, the film becomes about only him. But to treat Jordan as a myth, a gifted man who floats above us, all without ever putting him in front of us front and center, that was the gravitas the film needed to put it over the top.

Air will end the year as one of the strongest films released. Make sure to seek it out.


Air Is A Winning Drama, A Welcome Return For Affleck & Damon {Review}
Review by Jeremy Konrad

Ben Affleck makes a welcome return behind the camera for Air, telling a tight and well acted story about how Michael Jordan was courted to Nike and changed the business side of sports forever.

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Jeremy KonradAbout Jeremy Konrad

Jeremy Konrad has written about collectibles and film for almost ten years. He has a deep and vast knowledge of both. He resides in Ohio with his family.
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