As a sports fanatic, I eagerly anticipate films that construct a behind-the-scenes viewpoint of sport’s lavish world. We fans may see one truth on the court, but there’s always a complex reality outside of our preconceived notions. Director Florent Bodin’s latest documentary Tony Parker: The Final Shot attempts to uncover the French point guard’s unprecedented journey to superstardom. There’s a fascinating tale of perseverance and self-discovery within Parker’s story, but Bodin’s effort mostly settles for simplistic truths.
The Final Shot examines the career of Tony Parker. After becoming a fixture on the youth basketball scene, Parker would become an unheralded draft pick for the San Antonio Spurs. His determination led him to become arguably the greatest French basketball player, earning multiple championships on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
For audiences unaware of Parker’s history, The Final Shot capably lays out a snapshot of his storied career. Similar to the guard’s acrobatic finishes, Bodin’s visual slickness presents archived footage with an uptempo pace. His usage of zeitgeist songs and speedy edits properly convey basketball’s exciting allures. The balance of high-flying highlights and emotive reflection also works ably enough to draw audiences in. When Bodin goes behind the current, themes of personal evolution and acceptance are ripe for deeper examinations (I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in 2019, where Parker wrestles with starting over on a new team).
The Final Shot sadly misses the net on any meaningful exploration. Similar to other recent documentaries, Bodin’s effort indulges in shameless hero worship that says little of note about Parker’s life. Throughout the slapdash narrative (the film haphazardly jumps around his timeline), Bodin hits Wikipedia milestones without ever delving beneath the surface of these events. I’d love to know what drew Parker towards basketball or any potential hardships that he encountered along the way, but the buttoned-up timidness prevents audiences from learning much of anything about the guard (a certain controversial publicity moment is never even addressed).
I don’t know who The Final Shot is for. The film’s target audience of diehard basketball fans already knows about Parker’s many milestones, while the shallow dive into his image leaves nothing personal for uninitiated audiences to attach to. I am sure there are fascinating wrinkles to the star’s journey, yet the presentation represents a fairly by-the-numbers tale desperately lacking in specificity.
I love basketball as much as the next person, but The Final Shot‘s formulaic delivery restrains its intriguing subject at every turn.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.