HIGH FLYING BIRD (2019)

highflyingbird

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Written By: Tarell Alvin McCraney
Cinematography: Peter Andrews
Editor: Mary Ann Bernard 


Cast: Andre Holland, Melvin Gregg, Eddie Tavares, Zazie Beetz, Kyle Maclachlan, Zachary Quinto, Bill Duke, Sonja Sohn, Caleb McLaughlin 


In the midst of a pro basketball lockout, sports agent Ray Burke finds himself caught in the face-off between the league and the players. His career is on the line, but Ray is playing for higher stakes. With only 72 hours to pull off a daring plan, he outmaneuvers all the power-players as he uncovers a loophole that could change the game forever. The outcome raises questions of who owns the game – and who ought to.

After UNSANE this is the second Movie Director Steven Soderbergh has shot with an iphone and was finished with a rough cut of the film three hours after principal photography ended.

Though the film is about basketball know that there is little to no actual basketball action throughout. This is film more heavy with dialogue. That is thought provoking with an all around great ensemble. Just know what you are getting into before hand.

A film full of great ideas a kind of what if for sports and the nba at large. That is taken to the precipice.

The scenes are alive with tension and possibility due to the energy and electricity if performances. Especially by lead Andre Holland. Who carries off the film with charm and makes his performance feel like a natural all star. That feels more like you are watching a fever pitch or sermon from a preacher or salesman.

Tarell Alvin McCraney script which is above all else intelligent and flexible. Gives the film a kind of heist movie construct to make moves and the. Go back to show us what details we might ah e missed and keeps it moving before anyone truly might notice.

The only thing holding this film back is that it’s not as vivid and lively as the lead character and the script. Not does it have as many moves. So that while good it also feels like it lays there flat most of the time. Especially as this is more a dialogue based film it never becomes as full or goes as far.

The film is competently Directed by Director Steven Soderbergh. On an iPhone which is even more impressive. Though as it tries the colors while sharp are dull and dark and it’s not as rich as the material is making the overall look of the film kind of flat. Though he is able to give us a fly on the wall Perspective where the big moves as made. Where camera rarely go and gives the film a more matter of fact vision and vitality making all the more real than just fantasy.

A sharp social notice is that all the people of color are fighting for the players and the league to continue yet those against and those in power are all Caucasian.

It also exposes a more personal message as the athletes are seen more as commodities to corporations and owners. Thought arguably the players are the talent and content creators as well as their talent being seen by some as art. So this message of rebellion and trying to do things in a new or at least different way where the players might be able to control or own themselves and what they do as a personal freedom. Seems to be what Soderbergh has been trying himself and preaching to other film fans and creators. All while trying to do it himself and showing by example.

Strangely the film feels more like a Spike Lee film in style and subject to a degree.

Grade: B+

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