Search This Blog

March 23, 2020

The Way Back (2020) --- "Every Loss Is Another Fight."

Subscribe and show your support by sharing with a friend.

Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Directed by Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant) and co-written alongside Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace, Run All Night), The Way Back (2020) is a fictional sports drama about a man’s last shot at redemption. In high school, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a basketball star who could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros but due to his rough relationship with his father, he chose to walk away. Now his construction job is beating him down, alcohol abuse is slowly destroying him, and he’s been separated from his wife Angela (Janina Gavankar) for over a year. He’s essentially hit rock bottom but an opportunity presents itself when the head Priest at his former catholic high school asks him to step in part-time as the school’s basketball coach after the current coach has a heart attack. Unfortunately, their team is terrible and the last time they won a game was when Jack was on the team, back in the ’90s. Reluctantly, Jack accepts the position and as the team starts to win he may have found the strength and motivation to confront his demons, going on a journey towards healing, rehab, and forgiveness. 
     Over the years there have been a lot of films made about someone or a group of people redeeming themselves after a tragedy and most of those films are centered around sports. Not all of them are done well but they all manage to teach audiences a message about strength, overcoming adversity, and never giving up. In The Way Back we have a well-crafted storyline that evolves as the character evolved by slowly revealing the emotional depth of the main character with each scene. Not to mention the trailers hold a lot back, except the bare minimum so that the audience can go on the journey with the character. It's a poignant story that has been told a number of times but is told with such realism and attention to detail
     In addition to the story, the cast performances are incredible. Ben Affleck (Netflix’s Triple Frontier) has never been a favorite of mine. Sure I’ve enjoyed some of the films he’s been in but I have never cared for him as an actor, although his work as a producer seems to be his strength. Nonetheless, while I didn’t care for his acting in this film, he played Jack Cunningham quite well. I am not sure I could think of anyone else that could have done the role justice and played it with just as much realism and believability as he did. When his character gets angry, it becomes evident on his beet-red face, there’s no catharsis for the rage, instead, it sits there inside of him like poison. He doesn’t shy away from the character's flaws and failures and any information pertaining to how he let himself get to this point is left until the right moment. Janina Gavankar (The Morning Show) as Angela, Jack’s ex-wife who’s trying to move on, balances a levelheadedness that Jack lacks by demonstrating that she still cares for him but is also unsettled by his alcoholic behavior. Michaela Watkins is superb as Cunningham's sister Beth and her wistful way of expressing to her brother that she wants him to seek help is spot-on. The rest of the supporting cast also do a great job in their respective roles but I did feel that there were many moments in which they were underutilized, Gavankar and Watkins included.
     Overall, The Way Back (2020) is an entertaining film that demonstrates that when given to someone who cares about the story, it can be crafted into a compelling story about strength, overcoming adversity, and never giving up. It’s about fighting through the pain and coming out on the other side a new person with a new point of view. It’s about asking for help even when you're ashamed to do so or don’t believe you need any. With that being said, I was not overly blown away by what the film was trying to accomplish simply because, while it is a tune I’ve heard before, it dribbles the ball for far too long before finally making the last shot long after the time has expired. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of redemption sports films like this then I would highly recommend it to you, otherwise, I can’t say that you will be overly left out if you choose to skip it.

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

I hope you enjoyed this post. 
Don't forget to subscribe and show your support by sharing with a friend.

Movies Similar
42 (2013)
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)
The Call of the Wild (2020)
Draft Day (2014)
The Express (2008)
Facing the Giants (2006)
For the Love of the Game (1999)
Glory Road (2006)
Invictus (2009)
Just Mercy (2019)
Madison (2001)
My All-American (2015)
McFarland USA (2015)
Million Dollar Arm (2014)
Miracle Season (2018)
Richard Jewell (2019)
Savannah (2013)
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
When the Game Stands Tall (2014)
Woodlawn (2015)
We Are Marshall (2006)

No comments:

Post a Comment