The Way Back ★★★★

A lot of sports dramas tend to follow a loose formula to varying extents in a much more noticeable way than another drama doing the same thing. This can lead to a lot of critics deriding these movies for being cliche. I don’t think they’re wrong in that fact, a lot of sports movies are predictable and The Way Back is no exception. But Ben Affleck takes up what might be his best role yet, acting his ass off and elevating fairly standard sports fare to a surprisingly emotional ride.

The Way Back without Ben Affleck’s performance is another fairly standard person seeking redemption or meaning starts coaching a rough group of individuals and they learn the value of teamwork. But because it has that performance the usual redemption arc is given a ton of life that it otherwise would have seriously lacked. I can’t overstate how great Affleck is. He had me completely in the palm of his hand and the film played me because of it. By the end, you can’t help but feel a bit melancholic. On one hand, I feel really happy, on the other, the gut punches it throws in to spice up the formula just a bit is very welcome.