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Matt Damon and Ben Affleck make Air Jordans soar: Movie Review


Who would've thought the office work of a couple guys and their deal with feisty Mom could be a shoe-in (pun intended) for such a great movie?

That's exactly the story Air tells: When Nike’s shoe business was going under, it was a nutty idea from one guy to make a deal with a rookie NBA player and design a shoe around him to save the business.

That player? Micheal Jordan.

Hollywood everymen Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have re-teamed for this biographical sports drama, using their decades of trust and experience to give the story deep, compelling treatment both in front of and behind the camera.

Damon works as both star and producer, portraying talent scout Sonny Vaccaro, while Affleck directs and performs himself. Through a myriad of credits, these guys really know how to work together, with credits together spanning 30 years (including their best-known Good Will Hunting.)

Yet the surprise MVP of Air is debut screenwriter Alex Convery. This is their first produced screenplay and it’s got what so many lesser dramas crave: a really great script. Interesting dialogue, well structured plot, and great care finding the sweet spot between naturalism and popcorn-munching thrills.

The overflowing pop of 1980s charisma and cool also helps what could be droll subject matter into something warm and slightly whimsical instead. That's thanks to a clear, clean vision from Ben Affleck as director.

Ben Affleck is affable and compelling as quirky CEO Phil Knight, but he’s even stronger in the director's chair handling this historical material. Affleck, as a director, seems to thrive and create his best work when his films focus on real-life subjects.

Affleck finds a great balance in entertainment and authenticity in these real characters. Case in point: his last biography film Argo back in 2012, about CIA operative Tony Mendez, ended up winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

Everyone in the main ensemble are equally confident and modest, showing clear goals and tactics for their characters. Standout include Damon's Vaccaro, Jason Bateman's Robby Strasser, Chris Tucker's Howard and Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan.

To get the most out of the story, it helps to have a vague interest in sports, business, history, capitalism, or some combination of the above. If none of these subjects interest you, this may not be the film for you simply because it effectively encapsulates those subgenera.

As for those piqued by Air's premise? Not only does the movie effortlessly soar and captivate audiences - it's a slam dunk.


9 out of 10

14A, 1hr 32mins. Biography Sports Drama.

Directed by Ben Affleck.

Starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker and Viola Davis.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.