A man is offered to coach the high school basketball team that he used to play twenty-five years ago, but personal suffering and alcoholism will only exacerbate his problems.
I watched The Way Back based on assumptions. I thought it would be a Disney-like film about a man who struggles and through the kids’ basketball team finds redemption where, in the end, everyone lives happily ever after, the family watching it turns off the TV, and everyone goes to bed with a smile. Without revealing too much, I will tell you that this is not the case. Not really. Watching it, I found the lines were blurring between the plot and the subplot. Is it him and the basketball team the plot and his suffering the subplot? Or the other way around? I’ll leave this one with you, food for thought.
The Way Back has many strengths. Ben Affleck, who has faced himself several personal issues, alcoholism included, is always mastering roles such as this. Roles such as this made him famous and films like these are the reason his presence in front and behind the camera is still holding strong. Director Gavin O’Connor does a brilliant job making it an existential drama and I guess his experience from his previous drama/sport Warrior (2011) helped a lot. Then, all kids from the team deserve a round of applause as their performance is astonishing. A very well-executed film with an ultimately dramatic soundtrack.
The Way Back took a huge hit at the box office as every film did that premiered in March 2020. And it may not be Warrior, but it definitely deserves your attention. Yes, there are Disney elements in it when it comes to the basketball team and their effort to climb to the top. But when it comes to daily waking up to an “intolerable reality”, an HBO-esque feeling knocks the walls down, revealing you that in real life there is no easy way out. And, some times, unfortunately, not even a way back…