A Sports Film Without Sports
A Pure Joy Of A Film
It would be difficult to find anyone that isn’t aware of the name Nike. The brand has become a prominent clothing and shoe brand in our culture, in particular, their Air Jordan line of shoes. Yet, like most well-known companies and products, the story of their creation and uprising isn’t common knowledge. 2023’s Air tells the story of how Nike talent scout, Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon), pursued Michael Jordan to be a spokesperson for their basketball division of shoes when it was on the verge of shutting down due to low sales.
Regardless of the fact the film centered around Michael Jordan, the focus was never on him. Some audiences may be disappointed by Jordan’s lack of involvement in the film, but the filmmakers make it clear from the beginning that he is simply a MacGuffin. Without the acclaimed NBA star having a prominent role, it almost felt like a weight was lifted off the filmmaker’s shoulders, freeing them to dive deeper into the lesser-known names involved in the true life story.
Despite the film centering around non-traditional exciting topics, such as sales and marketing, Ben Affleck’s directing infuses an energy that keeps the film feeling fresh and thrilling. As audiences would most likely know how the story turns out before stepping foot into the theater, the movie still finds ways to keep viewers on the edge of their seats by scaling down the story to focus on the characters. The tension of the film rises from the stress and pressure Sonny faces from his colleagues as he struggles to rebrand Nike’s basketball shoes.
Air was able to draw in a stacked cast of some of Hollywood’s best. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis lead the film. Jason Bateman in particular gives one of the best performances of his career, portraying a character who starts the film unlikable but quickly turns into someone beloved by the time the credits roll. None of the performances are necessarily Oscar-worthy, as the actors didn’t provide anything new or original that we haven’t seen from them, but it never became a distraction. All of the leading actors have a natural charisma that makes it easy to like them, and those elements are translated into the film.
The film promotes itself as a drama, but would equally be qualified as a comedy. Most of what makes the film comical came from the performer’s timing and chemistry with each other. With Damon leading the charge of the film, he’s able to play off of his co-stars, in particular Bateman and Affleck, to make the film more comical.
Affleck Topping His Best
Having already directed 2012’s Argo to a best-picture win, Affleck was able to top himself with Air. As mentioned, the film has a constant energy pulsing through it that makes the hour and 52 minutes fly. There’s never a dull moment and Affleck’s choice of 80s aesthetics helps to take audiences back to that infamous decade. The soundtrack supplies a sense of nostalgia while making sure all of the props, costuming, and settings match the time period as well. The subtle details, such as television commercials, candy wrappers, and references make the immersion easier, almost as if the film was plucked out of 1984.
While many modern films will attempt to be serious and dark, Air pivots away to make an uplifting, light, and amusing film that will slap a smile on audiences’ faces. Through its encouraging underdog story, the film presents a message of following your instincts while holding a theme about hope. The performances provide nothing new, but the actor’s charm and charisma hold the audience’s attention, helping the runtime fly.
Audiences can shoot their shot and view Air currently in theaters.
Air 2023 Skydance Official Trailer
|Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.|