High Flying Bird (2019)

Steven Soderbergh directs Andre Holland, Sonja Sohn and Bill Duke in this basketball drama where a sports agent tries to break up a negotiation deadlock threatening his rookie player and company.

Steven Soderbergh wanted to make Moneyball at one point. And he wanted to make it with the real baseball players. This is the compromise. A digital Jerry Maguire clone with points to score about the exploitation of young black athletes and the game changing potential of streaming services. It is a film that has corporate buzz terms like “game changer” and “disruptor” dripping from its lips like scraps from a rich man’s feast. As if the technologies and distribution systems Soderbergh suggest will rebalance the finances of sport are not already in the control of the same predatory class that command the sports leagues. But Soderbergh presents it as a heist, only one where the scam is obvious from the get-go. The wordy, erudite dialogue has force, flow and punch. The ensemble all impress. This is mature, playful, gripping drama. The conclusions though are facile.

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