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Ben Affleck returns to direct a highly entertaining biopic about shoe sales and André has given it a watch ...

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Things are slow for shoe retailer Nike as Air takes off: the marketing team is struggling with its lukewarm jogging chain while competitors like Adidas and Converse are raking in big basketball names and big basketball dollars. But shoe salesman and basketball guru Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon) isn't content with mediocrity - he wants to recruit Michael Jordan himself to the Nike family and invest the entire budget in the young but promising star. The odds of the then 18-year-old Jordan signing a contract with the failing shoe company are low, however, and Vaccaro is forced to think outside the box to find that little extra that his competitors lack. Whatever that may be.

Ben Affleck's return to the director's chair begins with a nostalgic flashback to the happy and colourful 80s to set a contrast against Nike's grey and unmotivated office landscape. Jason Bateman's head of marketing, Ben Affleck's CEO, Chris Tucker's image manager and Matt Damon's scruffy basketball genius all have seemingly different visions for Nike's future, but they're at the same crossroads: is it worth betting big and risking major losses, or should they keep playing it safe and stay afloat? Of course, those of us who grew up with Michael Jordan's success story already know the truth, but Air surprisingly doesn't revolve around Jordan per se; rather, it puts a razor-sharp focus on the characters that are quickly forgotten when success stories are written into the history books, it's a movie about the sweaty behind-the-scenes work, and it's occasionally nail-biting to see how the deal with Jordan came about.


Air is a sports movie that doesn't really focus much on the sport itself, but still has that fiery fighting spirit and is reminiscent of Moneyball in that respect; you don't have to like basketball to like Air. There's a bit of Jerry McGuire thrown into the mix, too, in terms of the movie's energy. The script may not be quite as sharp as Moneyball, as much of the classically over-the-top dialogue from that kind of movie is recognizable, and that Hollywood sentimentality is definitely there - but the dynamics between the characters, the skillfully built tension and the brilliant narrative pace make Air a tight and furiously entertaining story about Nike's revolutionary advertising campaign that captures the viewer from the first to the last shot. I especially like how the art of rhetoric plays a huge but silent role in the risky recruitment of the basketball star. It's human and optimistic - even if the movie could have actually had a bit more bite.

On the whole, Air is a warm and uplifting biopic about trusting your gut in the darkest of times. It can't be easy to make an exciting movie about shoe sales, because it's very hard not to root for the middle-aged guys' struggle to win the Jordan deal. Now that Affleck has hung up the Bat-mantle, he should stick to this kind of movie much more in the future.

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08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Air is a well-acted and entertaining comeback for director Ben Affleck.
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MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

Ben Affleck returns to direct a highly entertaining biopic about shoe sales and André has given it a watch ...

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