Air – Andrea’s film review

Air ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali

Follows the history of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball: Michael Jordan. Out in cinemas from 5 April.

In his official nineth collaboration with his long-time friend Matt Damon (who can forget their Oscar glory from the Good Will Hunting days?), Ben Affleck brings the story of how Nike (yes, the sport label), signed the then relatively-unknown Michael Jordan to their brand and revolutionised the world of sports.

Yes, I know, on paper that doesn’t probably sound the most appealing pitch for a film, and yet, despite the fact that this is essentially just about people talking in rooms and on their phones, Air manages to work even for somebody like me,  who has very little interest (and time) for sports and movies about sports in general. In fact, I’ll go even further and say that this was by far the most entertaining film I’ve seen so far this year.

It is of course mostly all down to a smart and funny script by newcomer Alex Convery, a great ensemble cast, which includes the ever-reliable Viola Davis (who plays Jordan’s mother, Deloris), Jason Bateman and the surprisingly hilarious Chris Messina.

But of course, most of all, it’s all down to the director at the helm, Ben Affleck, whose work behind the camera makes it all look effortless.

His directorial decisions, whether the choice never to show Jordan himself, or his use of archive footage and his style of film making in general are all spot on.

There was a time when his attachment to any project was almost a mark of shame (Gigli, Daredevil, Pearl Harbor anyone?), but it has to be said most of his directorial choices have been right from the start: his dramatic thrillers Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Town (2010) showcase a great flair for telling stories about working class people living in Boston, while of course his Oscar winning Argo (2012) cemented his status and earned him some real credibility to the point that to this day, we are still able to forgive him for the abysmal recent Batman DC movies.

This film has a palpable and infectious energy right from the start and Affleck’s choices of music, film clips, brands and styles of film making show clear love and devotion for the ‘80s (or specifically 1984). The film even looks and feels like it could have been shot back then and that’s probably one of the best compliments I can give it.

Yes, you’ll probably feel a bit dirty having to root for a big corporation to succeed and there are moments of rousing American speeches which are on the edge of being palatable, and of course we all know how it’s going to end, but the audience I saw this with, in a packed cinema, lapped it up and the spontaneous applause at the end was definitely a proof this will leave very few people disappointed.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

Air is on in cinemas from 5 April.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival will be back next year

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