February 8, 2019
Initial thoughts: For a film that was mostly talking, it came at you with a very fast pace. If you aren’t paying attention bits of the machinations could easily be lost in you. I found it absolutely delightful, but similarly to Velvet Buzzsaw something just seemed to be missing to turn it up a level in my mind.
More: There’s just so much going on here, both in the movie and everything surrounding it, which adds a whole nother level. Looking at the relation between the NBA vs Players in the movie and creators vs movie studios, which Soderbergh, himself, tried to take on with the release of Logan Lucky (failed). This time, in the fictional world, it was used as a game of chicken. I wish I knew more about the book that is referenced, The Revolt of the Black Athlete as I’m sure it adds another level as well.
Then there’s the fact, this time, Soderbergh, again, doesn’t use the studios, but instead uses Netflix, which is a potential suitor in the film for the players to use against the league.
And this is all before we get to the wonderful dialogue, with the feeling of a stageplay, performed excellently by the entire cast.
There’s definitely some nice camerwork, with the iPhone nonetheless, but a lot of it feels extra at times, where I don’t know how much it added. That being said, this story meshed well with some of the unique framing, given you are meant to feel out of the loop and guessing much of the movie. A fly on the wall if you will.
A bummer of the film, is that so much is going on, we don’t really get to live with these characters. Much of the film is Andre Holland making moves, and as a character, he gets to be the most developed, but I wanted to know more about Spence, and Sam, and Erick, and the Umbers. They came across as fully fleshed characters, but we don’t get to spend time with them to really care about them and since the resolution wraps up quickly, the ending comes across like a swift killing.