film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Scheme 2020 * * * 1/2 Stars


"Who are the good guys here?" Obviously the filmmakers who bring to life the underbellies of NCAA basketball in The Scheme. "Scheme" is a fervent documentary that contains plenty of adult language in the form of F-bombs. It gives being tactful and reserved the middle finger and yup, it's my latest review. 

The Scheme is well, about a scheme. A pseudo scheme if you will. It's a yarn where only the sufferers and bystanders were interviewed (not the b-ball coaches, the US attorney, or the FBI). This docu, which is rather blunt in the way in which it tells its story, chronicles basketball insider Christian Dawkins. He was investigated (and convicted) for being involved with the paying of standout prospects to play hoops at the highest college level.  

The Scheme, which gets its hands tied only to tell one side of the tale, is a cleanly, streamlined flick that only the highly production-valued HBO could come up with. I've always fancied documentaries, I'm a sucker for controversy, and I'm originally from Michigan. "Scheme" is about a Michigan dude and Dawkins came from one of the most successful basketball meccas in the entire state (Saginaw High School). 

"Scheme's" director (Pat Kondelis) is well-versed in the telling of factual record. He shoots the docu with a raw and unfiltered feel. There are uncensored probes from everyone involved (Dawkins, his lawyer, his parents, various sports writers), slow-motion re-enactments, wiretapped conversations, and caught on camera deals. The film is packed with info so you have to pay attention as everything comes to a revelatory head at the end. 

All in all, you don't see a ton of basketball playing footage in The Scheme. You just take in a lot of behind the scenes stuff. It's fascinating and monetarily layered, like Moneyball gone dark. Rating: 3.5 stars. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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