Director Gavin O’Connor is working with Ben Affleck once again. This time for his sports drama OUT OF PLAY: THE WAY BACK, which seems like a liberation for the actor, whose image has been troubled. We reveal why in our review.
Jack keeps a close eye on his charges.
Due to the strong focus on the basketball game, the figure of Jack also fades into the background in the middle part of the film. This is even understandable from a narrative point of view: Ultimately, his attention to alcohol gradually disappears as he concentrates on sport. Only when in the last third the hurdles become too high and Jack’s willpower become too weak does “Out of Play: The Way Back” become more of a character-driven drama again. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck goes through a small tour de force in the film’s one and three-quarter hours. Even without the self-fighting that so often occurs in addictive films, the actor puts all his heart and soul into embodying this internally torn role. Even in his moments of greatest triumph, Jack holds back; knowing that things could be different at any time. Cameraman Eduard Grau particularly emphasizes the audiovisual aspect (“The lost Son”) This is done with coolly composed, precise images that do not allow for any over-stylization. “Out of Play: The Way Back” is a calm film whose dramaturgical progression can be guessed at if you have seen any film of this kind before. Nevertheless, Ben Affleck makes him an event, really savoring the very last scene. Because it encourages without being fake and doesn’t fob off the viewer with a polished Hollywood happy ending. That’s probably what Ben Affleck himself would have wanted least of all.
Conclusion: “Out of Play: The Way Back” is a straightforward sports drama that makes Ben Affleck a small event due to his obvious proximity to the material. It is the film that the actor himself deserves the most.
“Out of Play: The Way Back” can be seen in USA cinemas from July 23rd.