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AIR Review: Matt Damon And Viola Davis Starrer Is High On Drama But Low On Emotion

Reported By: Dishya Sharma

Edited By: Shrishti Negi


Last Updated: May 10, 2023, 10:12 IST

Mumbai, India

AIR Review: Matt Damon and Viola Davis are the stars of this film.
AIR Review: Matt Damon and Viola Davis are the stars of this film.


  • 12 May 2023 | English
  • 1 hrs 50 mins | Sports drama
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman and Chris Tucker
  • Director: Ben Affleck
  • Platform: Prime Video

AIR Review: Ben Affleck's on-screen boardroom of one of the biggest sportswear brands scores enough points to win.

AIR Movie Review: When a sports-themed film is made, one walks in thinking there will be action on the field, drama outside the field, and scenes that will leave you rooting for the protagonist. Now, while director Ben Affleck aces on the drama with the great help of his long-time collaborator Matt Damon and the multi-Oscar-winner Viola Davis in AIR, he, unfortunately, leaves behind the emotions.

For those of you who don’t know, AIR is based on the events that led to the legendary basketball player Micheal Jordan’s landmark deal with Nike and the origins of Nike Air Jordan shoes. Instead of looking at the deal from Michael Jordan’s or his mother Deloris Jordan’s perspective, the Prime Video film chooses to tell the story of this landmark deal from the eyes of the four executives of Nike — Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), Phil Knight (Ben Affleck), Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) and Howard White (Chris Tucker).

The film reveals that Sonny was the brainchild of this deal, going to all lengths to ensure that Jordan signs Nike in 1984. However, he has a number of hurdles to surpass — two of which were convincing Jordan and his mother Deloris Jordan (Viola Davis), and offering them a deal that Adidas and Converse could never match up. The 1 hour 50 minutes film chronicles Sonny’s undying spirit to crack the deal.

A number of things work for the film, starting with the screenplay and pace. Ben Affleck as the director doesn’t waste unnecessary time in brewing a scene longer than it is needed. He presents air-tight scenes and mostly delivers the highs using dialogues. While this works brilliantly in keeping the audiences hooked from the word go. The film is easy to follow, even for those who do not belong to the basketball fan clubs and are unaware of Nike’s history.

But the fast pace personally didn’t work for me completely because it didn’t give me enough time to invest in the characters, besides Sonny, and somewhat stole away the urgency of the deal. The depth got lost in the pace and the lack of emotional touch became evident after a point. However, given the dropping attention span, AIR works well to keep the viewer’s attention.

Meanwhile, another thing that works brilliantly for AIR is the casting. Matt Damon as the persistent Sonny makes you want to root for him. I’d like to write a personal thank you note to Michael Jordan for handpicking Viola to play his mother’s role in the movie. Hands down, the best decision of the film. She carries the film on her shoulder effortlessly with Damon, making it their movie and not Nike or Jordan’s film.

Jason Bateman as the marketing genius of Nike, Rob Strasser, shines in scenes given to him and Chris Tucker lights up the screen every time he is in the frame. Affleck plays an extended cameo of sorts and even in the short duration, treats fans to memorable scenes. The camera work and the vintage elements help keep the authenticity of the film.

Despite good performances, at the end of the day, the film is about the superstar basketball player and his partnership with Air Jordan but the connection seems lost. Ben Affleck’s decision to keep Michael’s face hidden from the camera, keeping him on the sidelines, and making it all about the brand makes the film tad weak. While the film works great at showing the importance of Deloris’ role in the deal, I wish that Affleck could have taken 10 minutes more to establish the deep bond that Jordan has with the brand and how they made each other a star from the first shoe that touched the court.

Bottomline: Ben Affleck delivers an air-tight film with AIR that is high on drama but low on emotion.

AIR will release on Prime Video on May 12.

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first published:May 10, 2023, 10:12 IST
last updated:May 10, 2023, 10:12 IST