Finding the Way Back review – Ben Affleck redemption drama is far from a slam dunk | Drama films

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A clunking underdog/redemption sports movie with a horribly perfunctory and unconvincing script, and a ponderous, half-awake performance from the bearded and stolid Ben Affleck.

He plays Jack, a lonely guy whose marriage has failed, owing to a family tragedy; now he works on a building site and drinks himself to a stupor all day every day. But then he gets a call from Father Edward Devine (John Aylward), the shrewd, kindly headmaster of the Catholic school where Jack was once a basketball star: could Jack maybe come back and coach the school’s now floundering and ill-disciplined team?

Watch the trailer for Finding the Way Back

Well, there are no prizes for guessing what effect Jack’s new job is gradually going to have on the troubled boys under his care, or on Jack himself. But everything about the screenplay creaks and groans. Every plot transition, every narrative crisis is forced, uncomfortable and boring, from Jack’s decision to take the job to his inevitable falling-off-the-wagon moment just when things seemed to be going so great.

And alcoholism itself – in keeping with a time-honoured Hollywood tradition – is represented naively, with Jack initially shown chugging cans of beer when he gets out of bed and even in the shower, and then miraculously being able to do without booze when his life is on an upswing, and indeed apparently at all times able to tackle the problem by white-knuckling it. No meetings.

Movies such as Coach Carter in 2005, with Samuel L Jackson, have done this kind of thing with a lot more power, and sold the inspirational and redemptive themes with much more guileless enthusiasm. But there is something so uninspired and dull about Finding the Way Back. I was yearning to find the way out.

• Finding the Way Back is available on digital platforms from 10 July.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Finding the Way Back review – Ben Affleck redemption drama is far from a slam dunk | Drama films

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