Ben Affleck's Air receives rave reviews: 'One of the best sports movies ever'

The film stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Viola Davis

Ben Affleck as Phil Knight in Air. (Prime Video)
Ben Affleck as Phil Knight in Air. (Prime Video) (Courtesy of Prime)

Ben Affleck's new movie Air received rave reviews after its world premiere at SXSW festival on Saturday, 18 March, with one critic calling it "one of the best sports movies ever made".

It's Affleck's first movie as director since 2016's Live By Night which was a critical and commercial flop.

The film follows Nike's attempts to sign Michael Jordan to an endorsement deal before he turned professional, by salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) who ultimately partnered Jordan the-then college basketball player with the brand.

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Initial reactions to the film out of the Austin, Texas festival have been very positive with Variety calling it "this generation's Jerry Maguire", comparing it favourably with Tom Cruise's Oscar-winning 1996 movie.

Watch a trailer for Air

Indiewire also gave the film an A+ rating and said: "Air is a slam dunk and ultimately one of the best sports movies ever made" adding: "It’s truly a film about legends made by legends."

The Playlist were less glowing, giving the movie B rating and wrote: "There may not be a lot of overt stylisation to the film, but there’s a comfort to be found in a story about competent people trying to build something meaningful."

Matthew Maher as Peter Moore, Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser in Air. (Prime Video)
Matthew Maher as Peter Moore, Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Jason Bateman as Rob Strasser in Air. (Prime Video) (Ana Carballosa/Amazon Studios)

Meanwhile Deadline praised the acting in Air: "Every castmember gives an award-worthy performance; it’s hard to choose one, and it’s a rarity to watch such good acting across the board.

"I’ve seen two Affleck performances at SXSW, and you can just tell when he’s enthusiastic about a project and when he’s phoning it in. Convery’s script has all the elements to invoke the energy needed to pull this off."

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Matt Damon stars as Vaccaro while Ben Affleck plays Nike founder Phil Knight. Viola Davis also stars as Jordan's mother Deloris after the NBA legend wanted the Oscar winner to play his mum.

The ensemble cast also features Chris Tucker, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans and Chris Messina.

Air is out on Prime Video now.

Watch below: Viola Davis 'deeply moved' to be asked to play Michael Jordan's mum