|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||The Way Back|
|Production country:||USA 2020|
|Running time:||Approx. 108 min.|
Once upon a time, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a talented basketball player on the verge of a glorious professional career. But those days are long gone. Now Jack is a man consumed by grief and alcohol who has long turned his back on the sport. But when he receives an offer to coach his old university's failing basketball team, it could put his life back on track. In fact, he manages to lead the team to a few victories. But his inner demons keep getting in the way of his personal redemption.
Following the success of the thriller "The Accountant", director Gavin O'Connor and lead actor have now collaborated again on the drama "Out of Play - The Way Back". The result is a stirring portrait of a man who, after a severe blow of fate, has lost all support in life and also any motivation to change anything about it. It was a challenge for Affleck, who is an alcoholic himself, and who brought so much of his own demons to the role. It was important for him to portray the character of Jack as authentically as possible. He really succeeded in doing that.
While basketball plays an important role in the story, "Out of Play - The Way Back" is not a typical sports movie. Sure, there are some typical set pieces of this genre that are used here as well. But the team that slowly fights its way from the basement to the top with Jack's help only plays a significant, but not central role in Jack's personal struggle. Thus, the film is also accessible to viewers who have little to do with sports movies in general and basketball in particular. However, one should have a soft spot for melancholy dramas to appreciate the very good performances by all involved.
Because "Out of Play - The Way Back", while carrying a hopeful message, is still not necessarily a feel-good movie. Jack's struggle against his grief and his self-destructive addiction is a bit grueling at times. Still, due to its moving story and Ben Affleck's more than convincing performance, the bottom line is: absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp