High Flying Bird
By James Davidson
“High Flying Bird” is a film that premiered in 2019 exclusivly on the streaming service Netflix. The movie follows Ray Burke (played by Andre Holland) a sports agent who is representing Erick Scott, (Melvin Gregg) the number one overall draft pick in the NBA, while the league is in the midst of a lockout. Ray begins to give Erick some controversial advice about how to handle the lockout and lack of paycheck. He advises him to quit the NBA altogether and go independent. Ray argues that the NBA just wants to use Erick anyways, they don’t really care about him. It includes interviews with real life NBA rookies and their experiences with the NBA and as first year players in the league.
I really thought that this was a great idea for a movie. I was looking forward to seeing this film to give an inside look at what being a rookie in the NBA is like, and what exactly peoples thoughts are during a lockout. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what this movie delivers.
While the movie does give an interesting look at what being a rookie in the NBA is like and an interesting look at what happens during a lockout. However it doesn’t really explain much and I ended up being confused more than anything. The movie also seems to spend a lot of time trying to make people feel sorry for the NBA players because they only make millions of dollars while the owners make billions. It was very hard to sympathize too much with the players’ situation.
The plot jumped around in time a lot, but neglected to let the audience know that in any way. It was frustrating to try to figure out the timeline in this film, and made the story very confusing and convoluted. There were some interesting points made during the film however, it was fascinating to see some of the business side of things between the NBA and the players. I wish there was more of that in the movie instead of confusing timeline jumps and the story of “struggling” NBA players.
While the plot was very convoluted, the acting was excellent. Andre Holland and Melvin Gregg deliver emotional performances and you can tell that this movie meant something to them. Zazie Beetz also plays an assistant agent and love interest for Erick, Sam. The chemistry between the Beetz and Gregg was excellent, you could really believe them as a couple. Even though the chemistry was great between the two actors, the writing of the relationship, like the rest of the movie, was confusing and unfocused.
This movie is rated TV-MA and is recommended for mature audiences. It has quite a bit of harsh language and adult situations that make this movie inappropriate for younger viewers. If you are a big basketball fan though, this might be an interesting movie for you to watch and kill some time while stuck in the house.
“High Flying Bird” is a great concept for a movie, but is unfortunately poorly executed. While it has some great acting, the story itself is murky and confusing. It’s also hard to feel sorry for the millionaire basketball players because the billionaire owners make more money.There are some interesting parts hidden in the depths of this film, and if you are interested in business or basketball this movie will probably interest you more than it did me. It earns 3 out of 5 stars.