Sports films are one of those genres that when done right deliver some great action in the sport it is focusing on as well as all the drama you could ask for. Lately though the focus has changed with films like Money Ball to focus on the behind the scenes workings of the organizations as opposed to the games themselves. The latest trying their hand with this format is Draft Day that includes not only a great cast including Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Tom Welling, Chadwick Boseman, Sam Elliott, Rosanna Arquette, Terry Crews, Denis Leary, and Sean Combs it also marks his return to the directors seat for the first time since 2011, but does it have the magic to deliver or will it fumble on the goal line?
Draft Day follows the general manager of the Cleveland Browns who must fight to land the number 1 draft pick after a thirteen-year unlucky streak, but can he turn that around or will he just drive the team into a deeper hole? At the beginning of this movie it feels a bit flat and looks like it might end up being one of those long drawn out stories that is like a marathon to get through, but then the pass is intercepted and it delivers. There are a few stories working through this film with the primary being that of the actual NFL draft and the other the relationship and personal issues he is dealing with during this already stressful day. Costner has been on a role lately with great turns in ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Jack Reacher’, and ‘3 Days to Kill’ and here keeps that winning streak alive giving a great performance. Some might not buy into the relationship with him and Jennifer Garner due to his actual age, but he doesn’t look it and they have some great chemistry together. Costner made a name for himself in the sports film drama with films like ‘Field of Dreams” and he seems to step right back into it flawlessly. The rest of the cast do a great job bouncing off each other, most notably the always great Dennis Leary who is a bit toned down, but still brings his usual energy to the part. There are moments of rapid fire dialogue that really comes off perfectly giving it a real approach and help the overall finished film.
Reitman has chosen to use some split screen transitions that will annoy some, but gives it that Monday night football film on some level and makes for a more visually interesting film. Once you get passed the initial set up everything in the film picks up with some amusing moments mixed in with the drama, but it’s the last half during the actual draft that makes the entire journey to that point worth it. You always know these people are going to have something up their sleeves, but it’s the way it is executed that will make or break it and they knock it out of the park. They structure it to keep you on the edge of your seat to be not so much surprised, but to just see how they get themselves out of this corner they backed themselves into early on. This film isn’t quite as powerful and effective as ‘Money Ball’ but it is right up there bringing everything it needs to not only give fans a sneak peek at the inner workings of the draft, but also a good movie to go along with it.
Let’s hope this is just another stepping stone to the return of Kevin Costner because his performances have been better than ever. This film may not find the immediate audience as most may think it is just another sports film, but thanks to it being focused on the inner workings and not just the game play it should appeal to a wider audience. If you are now or have ever been a fan of Costner, give this film a shot. At the least you will get an excellent performance from him.
For more information head over to http://www.draftdaythemovie.com/