Apart from the Batman costume, Ben Affleck returned to play a dark man who was injured as a result of past tragedies. But when The Caped Crusader was one of the actor’s most disappointing works (although he was convincing as Bruce Wayne with a physical appearance like the live version of the legendary Batman action series: The Animated Series), The Way Back was one of his best performances. Maybe Afflect does not need a mask to perform optimally, as the characters in this film, who need to open themselves to move from the “black hole”.
Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a construction worker who drowns himself every day in alcohol. After work he stopped by the bar, in the bath he brought a can of beer, while at work he secretly equipped himself with liquor. His wife, Angela (Janina Gavankar), left him and has now rearranged his life by getting a steady job and meeting a new man. Unlike Jack, Angela does not look at the world through a dark perspective. Top Movie Site
What makes Jack have that point of view? Slowly The Way Back will reveal it. The reason for Jack’s destruction, as well as other things such as the process of redemption to the element of sports drama that the film has, is actually a cliche. But Brad Ingelsby’s manuscript, which was later translated by directing Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Accountant), tried to distance himself from the cliché approach by suppressing dramatization, which allowed the audience to conclude independently, shocking and painful facts surrounding his character.
Jack is a drunkard, but I can empathize with his ignorance, with how frustrating when you are falling, people just routinely throw criticism, asking, “Why did you ruin your life? Why don’t you get up? “, Without understanding the pain. Moreover, his wife left him. Of course Angela is not mistaken. He was injured. He deserves to improve his life. But undeniably, it made Jack’s condition worse.
This is where Ben Affleck’s acting contributed. Playing subtly, Affleck is not imitating pain through outward appearances. As if the pain really eats away from the inside, creates a fragility that doesn’t make the audience hate it. We want him to rise, including when Jack was offered to train Bishop Hayes Catholic High School basketball team, a place where Jack was once known as one of the best players among students.
As I have already mentioned, The Way Back also permeates the clicheness of sports drama. Like Jack, Bishop Hayes’s condition was in ruins. Down on achievements, the quantity of the team is limited, while the players do not have adequate discipline. The direction is predictable. Both parties will awaken each other. The problem is, there is no intimacy between Jack and his foster children. Their interaction outside the match and discussion of tactics is so limited, to be able to make the audience feel bound, then support their actions on the field. Best Movie
Gavin O’Connor is indeed capable of processing drama elegantly, but it is not a matter of sport. The sequence of training, not to add insight about basketball, not even entertaining and igniting adrenaline. Likewise, the match, which is mostly only filled with short pieces of insignificant moments, such as a series of highlights where the footage is not selected. O’Connor failed to make the audience melt into the tension of the action chasing each other scores.
The Way Back could continue along the formulaic route, stopping at a point that most films would use as the pinnacle of its character’s glory. Instead, Brad Ingelsby carried his story on, making the film look like it had a fourth act. The decision was made as a form of rejection of simplification of the psychological dynamics of the grieving individual. If you choose the conclusion according to the formula, The Way Back will only make the protagonist chase yesterday, depending on “the good old glorious day”. But “the good old glorious day” is only used as a foothold to enter the true glory. Jack peered at the sweet side of the past to face the bitterness of the past, returned to a better old figure, then tried to move forward. Movie Review