Steven Soderbergh pinpoints the cracks in professional sports in this electrifying drama told like a heist movie.

The recent Netflix subscriber crisis has brought them face to face with reality: the days of overspending to make countless productions to launch into the void of your front page every week They couldn’t go on for long. And, like the good Hollywood studio that it is to a certain extent, will take the wrong lessons when making decisionsprioritizing consumable content over more attractive products such as those that helped them grow.

It is difficult to imagine that a streaming platform would find it profitable to invest 200 million in a blockbuster that after two days has ceased to exist in the collective memory, even if it has been watched for a million minutes and breaks invented records.

Perhaps it is more practical to follow the path that Apple TV + is following, giving viability to daring proposals (‘Separation’) along with other more friendly ones (‘Ted Lasso’) that give feeling that there is care when offering content. not so long ago Netflix had that balance, which allowed for interesting oddities like ‘High Flying Bird‘, an original available in his catalogue.

dribbling to the basket

The key, of course, is to establish rapport with a maverick like Steven Soderberghwhich is capable of doing movies of a lifetime in a totally fresh and renewed way. And without the need for large investments, just an iPhone (8), well-used lenses, a well-chosen cast and a crumbly story that can be told in an interesting way. We find all this in this peculiar basketball drama.

There’s a lockout in the NBA, one of the most important competitions on the planet, and both players and team owners spend a long break trying to get an economic agreement that benefits everyone. In the midst of all this, an agent (Andre Holland) it’s found in a worrying situation within your agency and must try to defend the interests of his star (Melvin Gregg) recently selected at the top of the Draft.

It may sound like an idea for basketball coffee drinkers, but Soderbergh ends up falling into a strange sports film where not a single minute is played Not a single ball is bounced. The early appearance of real league stars like Karl-Anthony Towns either Donovan Mitchell explaining the shock of reality when they entered professional sports, especially economically, makes clear the story that really interests the director and the screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (‘Moon light’).

‘High Flying Bird’ is a good sports drama for its way of breaking down the perfect structural framework of professional sport, especially in a sport with a predominant African-American presence such as basketball. The perfectly designed exploitation system in favor of (white) owners is a whole power structure similar to those that Soderbergh has wanted to subvert in the stories of most of his films, as reflected in the most recent ‘Kimi’.

‘High Flying Bird’: a great play by Soderbergh

Precisely as the theme, even with its peculiarities, is something so familiar to the author -which in itself is an example of seeking corners through which to exploit the system to return some power to the creators– uses a familiar formula to give an entertaining air to the film. Structurally ‘High Flying Bird’ has much more than house brand robbery cinemaas in ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and its sequels or the underrated ‘Logan Luck’, that of conventional dramas like ‘Coach Carter’, and manages to be convincing for it.

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The visual personality that it gives to the film is another point in its favor. There is a feeling that this is not shot with conventional cameras, but still it does not look cheap, but rather designs the image to give constant depth and dynamismstrengthening the dramatic charge of the ensemble.

There are so many aspects at a good level that it is impossible not to talk about ‘High Flying Bird’ as one of the best films of its author. And it has been possible due to that author’s lack of fear of risk, and because a streaming platform saw that it was a comfortable investment that could give his original catalog a certain freshness. A perfect play.