Review Ben Affleck drowns in alcohol very credibly in HBO Nordic’s new film The Way Back

Ben Affleck stars in The Way Back, a sports drama directed by Gavin O’Connor and released on HBO Nordic.

Premiere (HBO Nordic): 9.2. 2021
Original name: The Way Back
Directed by Gavin O’Connor
Screenplay: Brad Ingelsby
Starring: Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Brandon Wilson, Michaela Watkins, Al Madrigal
Length: 108 minutes
Age limit: K7

Gavin O’Connorin directed by a basketball movie The Way Back was expected to premiere last spring, but in the case of Finland, the release was delayed for almost a year. In the United States, the film was released a year ago in March and in parts of Europe last summer. In Finland, The Way Back is now finally available on HBO Nordic.

The Way Back is a sports drama that is especially interesting for the protagonist Ben Affleck as well as director O’Connor, known among others Tom Hardyn staring boxing drama Warrior (2011) and Edward Nortonin crime drama Pride and Glory (2008). O’Connor also collaborated with Affleck on a crime drama released in 2016 The Accountant.

At the center of The Way Back is Jack, played by Affleck, who was a basketball vow at a young age, but whose middle-aged life looks like a very lonely stare at a beer mug. The man works a dumbbell job on a construction site, he sips a beer in the shower for breakfast and pours strong liquor into his coffee mug by the time he gets to work.

Jack gets a chance to change the direction of his life as his former school is looking for a new basketball coach. The school team is anything but successful, but Jack takes it upon himself to swear faith in a diverse group of young people. However, the trolls of their own, gloomy past threaten to push the man back into the oblivion offered by liquor.

The Way Back is a very atmospheric, beautifully colored drama film about the grim tragedies that drive a person to alcoholism, as well as a glimmer of hope after a person gets to feel needed.

Brad Ingelsbyn in terms of the script, the film’s story goes well along the curve of traditional American sports drama. In it, a team of incompetent young people thrives with the help of an inspiring coach. Saying this hardly spoils anything, as it seems to be an almost stone-hewn rule in the case of American sports films.

However, as a sports film, The Way Back is not at its worst, and basketball is not elevated to a more important role than man. The game with its balls acts as a driving force in the mental growth of the characters, but still in a side role, and not every game of the team needs to be tracked point by point.

Especially with the role of Affleck, The Way Back is more than a basketball made from a conveyor belt. The actor himself, who struggled with alcoholism, carries a real dose of personality into his role, and it is sometimes difficult for the viewer to distinguish Jack from Affleck. Drowning in a glass of beer, sneaking home alone, and the fact that the seller of the liquor store almost feels like a best friend are realized in the film as convincingly and with real credibility as in roughly any way in a Finnish film about drunkenness.

So Affleck has by no means lost his grip as an actor, although sometimes in the world media such an image is tried to be painted. In The Way Back, on the firm shoulders of his Jack, rests the pain of a man who has lost everything important in his life, but eventually also a glimpse of possible hope.


“Ben Affleck plays the alcoholic lead in an athletic drama that seems very personal to him.”

Source: by

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