Thursday, March 5, 2020

Review: The Way Back

Release date: March 6, 2020
Running time: 108 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Michaela Watkins

After totally losing control of his life, former basketball star Jack Cunningham (Affleck) is given an opportunity to turn it around and find The Way Back. Jack is regarded as the best High School basketball player to come out of Bishop Hayes High School in California. But, despite his skill opening up opportunities for him, such as a full scholarship to Kansas University, he decided to forego all that and work a construction job and drink to deal with past traumas.  When, the current head coach of his alma mater suffers a heart attack, the only suitable person to replace him is Jack.  But can Jack find a path to mold this team and deal with his own life problems?  

Ben Affleck and Tyler O'Malley in The Way Back (2020)
Now I know many would want to label this movie as a sports movie, but the film itself is less about the sports and more about the struggle.  Sure there are aspects of basketball inherent in the film, but it wasn't the focal point.  Basketball is on the periphery of this film, and the real meat is in Jack's personal demons and dealing with his past choices.  Even certain dialogue explains to its viewers that its not about the game and or who wins but its about turning these young boys into better men.  The basketball that they do show tend to be in spurts, and any theatrics regarding the games were surprisingly basic.  

But what is important to take from this film is its redemption story and life lessons about perseverance and resilience. The Way Back tells a story of what can happen if mental health isn't discussed or handled properly and the consequences from that.  Without a doubt Ben Affleck is the star of this movie as he channels some of his real life struggles into this role, allowing him to portray Jack with a passionate and authentic performance.  Afflecks performance turns this into both a good movie with an inspiring message. The rest of the cast especially the younger members does a fantastic job in their limited spaces and truly compliments Ben in all scene no matter the intensity of them. Not to mention, Gavin O'Connor its truly remarkable when it comes down to film revolved around athletics and drama combining them into practical real life lesson. And without a doubt. his chemistry with Been Affleck is on full display yet again!

The Way Back tells a story that has you rooting for the man down. With scenes that will make you hold your breath, cry, and cheer, this is a journey that you will be glad you took.  And as with all sports movies, the journey is the most important part of the story.  Be sure to be ready for an emotional roller coaster here. Be sure to be ready for an emotional roller coaster here.

Watch It
Ben Affleck in The Way Back (2020)

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