When you see Kevin Costner’s name attached to a project it can inspire fear for many; it’s hard to pinpoint when he fell out of favour but he has been overlooked for quite a few years now. So it was with trepidation that I embarked on watching Draft Day. So “draft day” is a bit like our football transfer window; each team in the NFL (American football) gets given several rounds of picks of college players each year (in the US college football is huge, the games are televised), they also use the time to do deals for these players by trading their picks; the further down a round a player gets picked the less valued they are.
Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr. the manager of the Cleveland Browns; we follow him, other teams and key players in the countdown to the draft. Costner is a bit grizzlier, gruffer; he is after all 59 years old. Weaver has to deal with a lot of personal angst whilst fighting off the owner of his team Anthony Molina played by Frank Langella (who unaccountably wears sunglasses throughout the film), and his coach played by Denis Leary.
Setting the film to happen in one day makes for a dramatic timeline; and it is easy to get caught up in the excitement that this event incites amongst the American populace.
The film is in the assured hands of Ivan Reitman. He uses a split screen technique where he has actors overlap each others’ locations; it is visually very interesting and adds to the dynamism of the film as a lot of the story has to be driven by telephone calls.
The pace is good and even though I know sweet FA about American football it didn’t really matter. Reitman makes good use of a strong supporting cast (and a ton of real life NFL figures); this is an uplifting surprise of a film.
It has a 90s feel about it, whether that is the presence of Costner I can’t decide. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Could Kevin Costner be due a comeback? He will need an indie role outside his heroic comfort zone to achieve that; maybe someone should give him that opportunity…
Out in time for the Superbowl on 1st February this is a definite watch for fans and worth a punt for novices.