‘Amateur’ Review

AmateurAmateur is a sports drama film written and directed by Ryan Koo that stars Michael Rainey Jr., Josh Charles, Brian White, Sharon Leal, Ashlee Brian, and Corey Parker Robinson. The story follows a 13-year-old basketball prodigy, Terron Forte as he struggles to fit in with his new team, overcome his learning disability, and deal with the greed and corruption involved in amateur sports. Amateur is a very relatable film for kids who have the dream of playing sports professionally and adults who once chased that dream. Ryan Koo does a great job of grounding the story in reality, thus keeping everything believable. He shows that millions are made off of amateur athletes, yet they cannot be paid themselves. All of the actors are convincing in their roles in a story that feels as if it were based on true events. Koo develops the story from both sides, allowing viewers to watch as Terron strives to reach the goal of playing professionally, while at the same time his father deals with the results of giving it everything he had and still not making it to the professional level. The film boasts a decent cast with Michael Rainey Jr. standing out as Terron Forte. Viewers can tell he really wants to eventually make it to the NBA, but also wants to do well in school to please his mother. His struggle is apparent in that his learning disability hinders him from succeeding in this. His family also struggles financially, which prevents him from getting the kind of help he needs. Brian White also turns in a good performance as Terron’s dad, Vince. He’s a former football player dealing with memory issues due to his many concussions while playing in high school and college. This has made it hard for him to hold down a job and support his family. He knows he needs medical help but is too proud to ask and feels not much can be done for him. He sees Terron as having a real chance to make it professionally and puts much pressure on the boy to succeed. Josh Charles turns in a serious yet relaxed performance as Coach Gaines. He is shown as a very shady person who will do whatever it takes to get the best team. He is fed up with the rules of amateur athletes and is willing to bend them just to get ahead. Gaines is one of the most complex characters in the film as his actions do not always reflect his personality. As with many Netflix Original Films, the smaller budget is noticeable. Extras are kept to a minimum and the runtime feels a tad restraining. Some of the characters are not as developed as they could have been and are mainly there to serve Terron’s journey. The film would have possibly worked better as a Netflix Original Series since an elongated format could have added much more depth and weight to the story and the characters. I give Amateur a Decent 7/10. This is a nice film to watch especially if you are a former athlete and proves that Lavar Ball might not be that crazy after all.

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