Plot via IMDB:
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.
Ben Affleck has proven that he can find drama in the details of negotiation. Air, a sports drama about how Nike not only developed the famous Air Jordan sneaker, but wrangled Jordan from committing to Adidas and Converse, is Affleck at his technical best. It’s interesting and dramatic as possible about the seismic change Air Jordan’s wrought in marketing, sales, and contract negotiations.
Smartly, Affleck, keeps the actor Jordan (Damian Young) presence obscured. He’s seen in shadows, shrugs of the back, only from behind, anything that doesn’t reveals his face. Only the mythic Jordan is shown full face and full figured— the athlete that played basketball with magical moves, won championships , the immortal tragic Jordan of the sports pages and scandal sheets- full of love for the game, genius, grit, perseverance, righteousness and faith.
The true believer of Jordan, the person willingly to bet all of Nike on the Jordan mystique and the money it will rack up is Sonny Vacaro (Matt Damon). Yes, Vaccaro is an IRL character. He’s a divorced, workaholic, basketball obsessed techy, a genius in both the psychology of dealmaking and human persuasion through empathy. No romance will sway from his true love of basketball and Nike. His wooing of Nike founder, Phil Knight (Affleck) and Jordan’s mother, Deloris (Viola Davis) is the real love story going on in Air.
The movie is constantly hitting the right balance between comedy and drama. Damon’s self-deprecating personality and acting pulls the movie through. He packed on enough weight to give his Vacaro a shlub physicality. It allows the audience to see the lifetime of failures, small successes, all the frustration and anger inside Vacaro. His interactions with the deadpan Knight are highlights of comic eye rolling frustration and subtle ego manipulation. Those with Viola Davis show him as empathetic manipulative best. His prophecies are given and proven true as the story plays itself. This revealing truth persuades Deloris more than anything.
Air is often touching, and light. It’s hard not to be moved by the interaction of the cast, the economic, racial and moral stakes in play. It’s a story about the best and worst of capitalism on display- a referendum on the soul of America.
Air gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
- David Ellison
- Jesse Sisgold
- Jon Weinbach
- Ben Affleck
- Matt Damon
- Madison Ainley
- Jeff Robinov
- Peter Guber
- Jason Michael Berman
- Amazon Studios (United States)
- Warner Bros. Pictures(International)
- March 18, 2023(SXSW)
- April 5, 2023(United States)