The Way Back Movie Review
Remember back a couple decades when Ben Affleck was poison? Like, this guy can’t act, let alone be in a good movie, poison?
In The Way Back, not to be confused with 2010's The Way Back or 2013's The Way Way Back (or 2003's The Way Back or 2011's The Way Back), Affleck delivers one of the best performances of his career and one of the better performances of 2020 as an alcoholic who finds a renewed sense of purpose when he is enlisted to become a high school basketball coach. Marketed as a sports drama, The Way Back features some decent basketball action but it is very much a character study about a fractured man trying, or resisting to try, to overcome tragedy and a failed marriage.
Affleck, whose own marriage disintegrated due to drinking problems, clearly puts his all into the role, rewarding the audience with a raw, powerful turn that inspires sympathy even as he spirals down into destruction.
As long as you don’t go in looking for a movie about an underdog sports team overcoming the odds (the epic game that would serve as the climactic match in most such sports films is never shown on screen, to bring home that point), The Way Back is a worthy endeavor.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.