It certainly would take Amazon Studios to fund a movie about a product.
Set in 1984, sports brand Nike is struggling against its competitors, but one of their employees wants to make a deal with rising Basketball star Michael Jordan.
Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, with Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, and Chris Tucker… does Air really need a review? You already know if you want to see it or not, surely.
A film following Sonny Vaccaro (Damon), working in Nike’s sports division, as he attempts to turn the company’s dwindling prospects around with a Hail Mary attempt to win the endorsement of one Michael Jordan. A man who is already entrenched with Nike’s competitors, Converse and Adidas.
This is a strange one. When it was announced, and even after watching it, it is a strange one. A film about a shoe, a film about a sports brand struggling to remain competitive. It is surreal to comprehend that a film was made about this. What’s next? A film about Coca-Cola and Christmas branding?
Is it any wonder that this film, that is heavily inspired by a product, the rise of a globally dominant brand, and being littered with references to other brands, would be co-produced by Amazon Studios? It almost feels… wrong to be invested in it.
But is it worth watching?
Certainly, Ben Affleck knows how to direct. We know this since Argo, and it is always entertaining to see him paired up with his good friend Matt Damon. Their scenes together definitely feel like two men who are very comfortable with each other and the chemistry is instant. Which is good, since Affleck is playing the head of Nike, Phil Knight, with the buck starting and ending with him. The performances are all generally solid, across the board.
The film is also dripping, oozing with 1980s nostalgia. Good grief. From Affleck’s purple tracksuit to the endless soundtrack that plays the most obvious and recognisable 80s hits. Even the script drops multiple references to 1980s movies, almost exclusively movies, thinking back on it… It is great, and makes it very immersive for the time period.
But… it is a movie about a shoe.
Like… a shoe.
If you are really big on basketball, and also business-centric movies, you will probably take a lot more away from Air than someone like me. It is honestly a little hard to write more about it… What more is there?
We have the business environments, offices, boardrooms, we have the usual tension build up and anxiety as money is put on the line. A company’s entire future hanging in the balance. But there aren’t many human moments. Moments that stick out as especially meaningful or resonant (apart from a screaming rant over the phone from Jordan’s agent, played by Chris Messina, that was memorable!)
For an event to become a cinema experience… you’d think it would need to be a bit more dramatic than this?