All too often star-studded casts in keenly anticipated films have disappointed us and many worried that Air would fall into this disappointing trend but it seems director Ben Affleck can do no wrong!
This historic drama recounts the story of Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) as he puts his career on the line to create a line of shoes based on a young, up-and-coming basketball player Michael Jordan (Damian Young). He must persuade both Jordan and the real hurdle: his mother (Viola Davis), to bring them on board and create the mythos that is ‘Air Jordan’.
Affleck’s heartwarming story shows us what can go right if we bet all out on a long shot. What could have been one giant Nike and, instead is a film that can be appreciated by all. It begins with Sonny, our heartfelt and passionate protagonist as he persuades the marketing head of Nike Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) to invest in a young minor league Jordan. In order to win over the Jordan’s they invested the most any brand had done at the time ($250,000), but also had to persuade them to invest their hearts in their brand in return.
Even with their eventual agreement, it was not smooth sailing for Sonny. The film follows the struggles that occurred behind the scenes, and the personal growth that came from each and every character. What underscores it all is the raw and utterly believable performance from Viola Davis, who paints an antimate portrait of Deloris Jordan’s dedication and love for her son. Few know how far her protection really extended beyond her own son – we can see in this film how she was instrumental in passing laws that ensured young players can benefit from sports endorsement, and set the standard for the industry that is still used to this day.
Lastly, no discussion of this movie is complete without mentioning one key facet – Affleck’s directing. He weaves together a vivid picture from archival footage and new. The film practically glows with reverence for it’s subject matter – it highlights the passion of those involved and their inspiring messages.
While some might see this movie as just about basketball and shoes, what it really shows is the birth of a household name. The creation of an unbelievable phenomenon that changed the trajectory of sports brands, fashion and some might say culture as a whole. However, this isn’t some over the top documentary, it’s raw, it’s believable and most of all – it’s human.