‘Air’: Ben Affleck rebuilds the myth of the Air Jordan in an exciting film with great characters
In 1980, Nike enjoyed some importance in the sports industry, but its division focused on basketball was going through terrible times. Everything changed with the signing of a very young Michael Jordan, basketball player who years later ended up being considered the best of all time and which also gave its name to the most famous line of shoes in history: the Air Jordan.
Although today it is difficult to imagine a world where Michael Jordan and Nike do not go hand in hand, the reality is that 40 years ago this was unthinkable. The 23rd of the Chicago Bulls had no interest in signing for this brand and Phil Knight, CEO of Nike, aware that there was no chance of signing him, did not want to invest the necessary resources or effort. Under the direction of Ben Affleck and with a magnificent script by newcomer Alex Convery, ‘Air’ combines humor and drama to explain how the impossible became possible.
One of the main challenges that ‘Air’ faces is that a large majority knows that Air Jordans exist, that is, that the collaboration between Jordan and Nike happened. Therefore, the film does not enjoy an important element such as a surprise ending, but ‘Air’ endows its story with so much passion that it doesn’t matter to know the outcome beforehand.
‘Air’ immerses you fully in its world from the first minutes with a wonderful start to the rhythm of Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’, and gets you to let yourself be carried away by the process, to celebrate each good news of the characters, to grieve for the bad and to get nervous in their moments of uncertainty. It is an exciting movie from start to finish.
Most of the credit for this being so goes to the main virtue of ‘Air’: its characters. The strength of the film resides in the relationships between them. With more or less weight in the plot, they all contribute to making the public participate in what is happening. Perfectly accompanied by archival images, an atmosphere and a very eighties soundtrack, we forget the year in which we live and transport ourselves for two hours to the 80s.
Although there is room for some emotional moment, a very natural humor predominates in the interactions between the characters due to the clash of their ideas and personalities. This aspect is the key to ‘Air’, since their conversations are what allow the plot to move forward. Convery, that it seems incredible that we are facing his first film, writes very high level dialogues, funny, fast and solidwhich make ‘Air’ something very dynamic.
Of course, a movie that depends on its characters needs a cast to match, which manages to translate Convery’s script into reality. In this aspect, ‘Air’ fully complies. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Julius Tennon, Chris Messina and Matthew Maher, who make up the main and supporting cast, give us great performances. They give off so much chemistry that I would even pay for a ‘The Office’-style sitcom with their characters from ‘Air’.
Whether they have more or less minutes, all the characters enrich the whole of the film, but without a doubt the MVPs are those of Matt Damon, who gives us one of the best performances of his career, and Viola Davis. He plays Sonny Vaccaro, a worker in the basketball section of Nike who, despite the constant refusals he receives and having everything against him, wants to go for Michael Jordan. She meets Deloris Jordan, the mother of the basketball player, who, aware of the potential of her son, is not intimidated by anyone. The unwavering faith she has in Michael, coupled with her calm and the always sensational interpretation of Davisthey make us know from the first moment that Deloris is not just any character.
Each interpreter enjoys his golden moment, but Damon and Davis are the true protagonists of ‘Air’ and the ones that work as the engine of the film. Separately, both have great scenes with the corresponding character, but when they share the screen they leave us some of the most memorable moments of ‘Air’. Vaccaro’s go-for-all wins against Deloris’s calm and seriousness are a perfect balance.
‘Air’ is so round that at times you forget Michael Jordan himself, but for a basketball lover it is difficult not to think of him in a fight that revolves around him. This is where we enter main (and practically only) negative point of the film.
And Michael Jordan?
Although it is not so negative or important that it seriously affects the film, my main drawback (to put one) with ‘Air’ is the role of Michael Jordan. Beyond seeing a double from behind, in the background or simply naming him, the basketball player is not just another character. It should be noted that the movie is not his biopicso it is a logical and correct decision not to have him as the protagonist, but there are scenes in which it shocks that he does not have a minimum intervention.
Because of the way ‘Air’ is framed, its appearance is unnecessary most of the time, but its deathly silence is hard to miss at certain times. When mother, father and son attend different meetings with sports brands, It is not always natural that Michael does not speak or practically give no sign of life in matters that revolve completely around him and that affect him more than anyone else. I understand that they wanted to focus on Deloris Jordan as spokesperson for the family, an aspect that I applaud and seems to me one of the great successes and pillars of ‘Air’, but that her son never intervenes when his future is being decided in a meeting is striking. . Nevertheless, this doesn’t hurt the movie muchremains more of a simple ‘but’ than a problem.
“A shoe is a shoe”
Although for lovers of basketball and the shoe industry ‘Air’ is full of winks, for the public outside this sector it is just as attractive and interesting. All people who want to see a fun story of overcoming full of charismatic characters will enjoy it. ‘Air’ is one of those movies that make you feel good, and that never hurts.
As if Air Jordans weren’t already iconic enough, ‘Air’ makes them a bit more emblematic by letting the public know the keys to the process and sharing the great moments behind the phenomenon. Due to the magnitude of the product and the basketball player, making the Air Jordan more special is more than enough reason for Ben Affleck and company to be proud of their work.
‘Air’ now is available in theaters.
The best: The characters and their interactions.
Worst: The absence of Michael Jordan in certain scenes.