Movie Review – Draft Day (2014)

Director: Ivan Reitman

Stars: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Chadwick Boseman, Dennis Leary, Frank Langella

It’s the day of the NFL draft. Sonny Weaver is the general manager and has the weight of Cleveland on his shoulders, while the owner of the team wants a big splash. Frantic trading and deals are worked out as teams try and recruit what they need, and get one over on their rivals.

It’s quite interesting to me to have a sports film that features no actual sports. Although I spent some time living in America I’ve never been exposed to the NFL in any substantial way so the draft system isn’t something I’m familiar with, and after reading comments about the movie I get the impression that it isn’t represented that authentically here. However, as a layman I found the drama entertaining and it was enjoyable to see Weaver try and hold onto some stability while everything else was careening out of control.

The drama is laid on thickly by Reitman although I think the performances manage to transcend the material, as there are a number of plot holes (like, really, why would this big company hire an intern on the busiest day of the season?). The settings of the scenes are pleasant as we get aerial shots of the different stadiums, and the split-screen techniques Reitman uses give the film a good flow.

It is a little odd in some ways to blend fact and fiction; they use real teams and I think some of the people in the film play themselves, but everything else is fabricated. I would have liked a little more explanation of the mechanics as well, as some of the trades made didn’t seem to make sense initially. I would also have liked a coda at the end to show how the team Weaver assembled actually did, given it’s a work of fiction I’ve no doubt that it would have been a successful season and it’s not necessary in the sense that the culmination of the film is to do with Costner’s character, but I would have liked it all the same.

Draft Day is a football film that I think non-fans will enjoy more than fans given the inaccuracies. It’s certainly not perfect but I was entertained and invested in the outcome.

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