For the first time since 2016, Ben Affleck finds himself sitting in the director’s chair, as his new film Air — which tells the story of Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan — is set to hit theaters in just a few weeks.
While his first three films — Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture) — were widely acclaimed, Live By Night was the first true directorial miss of Affleck’s career.
But now, the 50-year-old is not only back behind the camera with Air but he’s back to making bangers as well, as the first reviews of the film have been overwhelmingly positive thus far.
In their review of the film — which premiered at the South by Southwest film festival over the weekend ahead of its official theatrical premiere on April 6 — Variety compared Air to the 1996 Tom Cruise sports classic Jerry Maguire.
Indiewire‘s review of the film was equally effusive in its praise of Air, saying that it “is a slam dunk and ultimately one of the best sports movies ever made.”
The Hollywood Reporter also notes that Air represents a return to form for Affleck, saying that the film feels like “a letter of admiration — to Jordan, his family, the tenacious execs at Nike — and a statement of Affleck’s future intentions.”
Here is the official synopsis for Air, via Amazon Studios:
From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR reveals the unbelievable game-changing partnership between a then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand. This moving story follows the career-defining gamble of an unconventional team with everything on the line, the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent, and the basketball phenom who would become the greatest of all time.
In addition to Affleck as Nike founder Phil Knight, Air stars Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro, Viola Davis as Michael Jordan’s mother Deloris, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and more.
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