It's been a while since we got a good basketball drama, but Netflix's High Flying Bird looks to remedy that.
The Steven Soderbergh pic, directed from a script by decorated Moonlightscribe Tarell Alvin McCraney, centers on Ray Burke (André Holland), an agent who's trying to find a way around an ongoing NBA lockout. From the looks of it, he knows a thing or two about the powers of digital persuasion and will capitalize on the availability of live-streaming a much-anticipated match-up as a way to put the power back in the players' hands and the ball back into the crusty executive types' court.
There's some pretty salient talk about the dependent relationship between the league and the talent -- as Burke says plainly to his key player, played by American Vandal breakout Melvin Gregg, "to move merch and inspire rap lyrics, they need your services" -- and while we're probably not gonna need to take a trigonometry refresher course to follow things a la Moneyball, he does intend to become a "disruptor" and form a new athletic entertainment regime. Its focus on labor economics and intimate camerawork makes it look more The Girlfriend Experience than Ballers.
High Flying Bird (which bears no relation to Bird Box, by the way) also stars Zazie Beetz, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Duke. The film hits Netflix on Friday, Feb. 8, just in time for NBA All-Star week.