Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Alex Convery
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis
Air, which is written by Alex Convery and directed by Ben Affleck, is the story of how Nike managed to make a deal with rookie Michael Jordan to create the Air Jordan shoe. The film stars Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro as he tries to convince his boss, CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck), to take a gamble and place all of the basketball division’s budget on securing a deal with Jordan.
The film starts with a montage of shots from the 80s, setting the scene with clips from the era accompanied by Dire Strait’s Money for Nothing, before we meet Sonny as he travels between college basketball matches to find new athletes to sponsor. When he’s not seeking new players, he’s betting big in Vegas. Nike is presented as a bit of an underdog in the story, with Converse and Adidas having bigger basketball divisions. It’s not a secret that Jordan ended up signing up with Nike, so there’s not much tension throughout the film about what’s going to happen.
It’s a feel-good underdog story, which is a strange thing considering even at that point Nike was a massive company, but it works. It’s a compelling story, due to how good the cast is. The star filled cast are fantastic, with excellent performances from everyone. Jordan’s mother, who is played brilliantly by Viola Davis, who was cast at Jordan’s suggestion. She’s on top form in every scene, even though she’s not in the film that much. While Ben Affleck was given Michael Jordan’s blessing to make the film, you never see his face and he doesn’t really speak throughout the story, emphasising that this is a story about the shoe, not a biopic of Jordan himself.
A story about the creation of a shoe doesn’t sound interesting at first, but Air manages to make it so. It’s simply excellent storytelling, so even if you have no interest in Michael Jordan, basketball, or even shoes, it’s still worth watching.
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