Directed by Ben Affleck, Air is one of those true stories where you already know how its all going to work out in the end, unless of course you’re one of the few people in the world who has never heard of Air Jordans, but it still manages to deliver an enjoyable ride in telling us the story of how they came to be.
Back in 1984, Nike had just 17% of the basketball market share, trailing behind Adidas and even further behind Converse. Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) works for Nike in their basketball division and is known by his colleagues as a basketball guru, travelling the country to watch rookie games and studying tapes of basketball games at home in his spare time. With such a small share of the market, the department is in danger of being shut down completely, so making the best possible use of this years budget in trying to partner up with an up and coming rookie to partner with, is crucial in keeping the department alive.
In a departmental meeting led by Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman), Sonny makes it clear that instead than splitting their budget across two or three players, he’d much rather go all in with an exciting new player called Michael Jordan. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, including CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck). Even talks with Jordan’s agent, David Falk (Chris Messina) don’t go well, with Falk telling Sonny that Jordan already has meetings lined up with big player Converse and Adidas. But Sonny is persistent, and decides to go rogue, heading directly to North Carolina and the home of the real decision makers – Michael Jordan’s parents. Chatting with Deloris Jordan (Viola Davis), Sonny lays out exactly how their meetings with Adidas and Converse will go, and why they’re a bad match for her son, sowing the seeds for a potential meeting with him and the team at Nike.
With plenty of 80s references and a great soundtrack full of 80s music, Air is definitely a nostalgic and fun movie. Matt Damon delivers another strong, likeable performance and it’s great to see him back alongside Affleck, also great as the shoeless, Buddhist quote delivering CEO trying to keep Sonny in check. Viola Davis is once again superb as the no-nonsense mom to a future superstar but everyone involved is on top form with a script that delivers laughs and tension in equal measure.
As someone who doesn’t have a clue about basketball I was a little worried early on with some of the jargon and teams being discussed that I wouldn’t like this as much as I did. A good, solid movie packed with a great cast.
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.