By Adam Ray Palmer
As sporting docu-series go, we know for the past couple of years that Amazon Prime have triumphed in this area with All or Nothing: Manchester City and All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks.
But now, in partnership with ESPN, Netflix are making a play to put out the best sporting documentary series on a streaming platform. Netflix’s entrant is the masterful, The Last Dance…
The Last Dance is a no holds barred documentary series that charts the sensational rise of the 1990's Chicago Bulls, led by the maestro Michael Jordan, one of the most notable dynasties in sports history. The series runs for 10 episodes with each one having its own mini narrative that ultimately plays a part in the over-arching story of how one American sports club grew a religion-type status over a peerless and paramount decade.
Directed by Jason Hehir, the series has a focus on a core group of individuals who were the life and soul of the Bulls double three-peat era. These personalities include coach Phil Jackson, owner Jerry Reinsdorf, players Steve Kerr, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the superstar Michael Jordan. For the 10-hours, we learn the intricacies of their lives and how they ended up a part of the legendary team.
Jason Hehir clearly knew from the outset what he wanted to achieve with this series. He desired to portray the lengths that these people would go to attain their dreams and alongside this, what goes into making them the people they would become. Both of these aspects are realised throughout and more importantly; both of these themes are the reasons you invest your time into this masterpiece and keep you coming back for more.
The way The Last Dance is edited is where it truly wins though. It plays out like the archival footage is sped up through a Snapchat beauty filter and my word does it look great. The timeline jumps are easy to follow, the talking heads are never over-powering or unnecessary and the in-game clips are something to marvel at. You forget to just how good Michael Jordan was and just how intense basketball can be.
Overall, I am a huge fan of this series. You learn so much about the game, the people behind it and just how an all-encompassing competitive nature can get you to the top. Whether that makes you a less-likeable person, it certainly makes you a superstar. The Last Dance is a tour-de-force series and will certainly be a blueprint on how best to do tell a sporting tale in a multi-part documentary. Bravo Netflix and ESPN.
Cineroom’s rating: 5 stars
The Last Dance is out now on Netflix across the world – certificate 12A