Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2019. Extension 765, Harper Road Films. Screenplay by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Cinematography by Steven Soderbergh. Produced by Joseph Malloch. Music by David Wilder Savage. Production Design by Andy Eklund. Costume Design by Marci Rodgers. Film Editing by Steven Soderbergh. Gotham Awards 2019. Independent Spirit Awards 2019.
André Holland is excellent as a sports agent who finds himself in a financial bind during an NBA lockout between managers and players. After a heated argument with one of his clients, an up and coming player who has inconveniently borrowed from a loan shark right before seeing his income freeze up, Holland decides to deal with his own money worries by finding a clever way to keep players busy and in the public eye without violating any terms of the contract. His efforts get the backs of fellow agents and owners up while he goes out of his way to cause trouble between his client and another popular player, one whose manager is his fiery and controlling mother (played expertly by Jeryl Prescott). This intelligent if not particularly exciting drama was shot quickly on iPhones and it only shows in the spontaneous nature with which it plays out, as having a director as accomplished as Steven Soderbergh behind the camera means that it never feels amateurish and the performances never come off as one-take fumbles. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s script avoids any manipulative indulgences, the film feels like real-life negotiations in the world of high-stakes professional sports, but its realism is partly why it is only impressive and never particularly captivating.