Saturday, August 26, 2017

TV Show Review: Ozark

I wasn't sure what to think about this new Netflix show and so many of them come out every week that it is sometimes hard to know which ones to watch. I stuck with this crime drama for a few episodes and then got hooked pretty easily. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is an accountant who seems like a square until it is revealed that he has been working for a Mexican drug cartel. When the cartel led by Del (Esai Morales) kills Marty's partners in front of him, the accountant has to think fast in order to survive. He explains his plan to get out from on the federal investigation into their money laundering by moving to Missouri and into the Ozarks. Del allows Marty to live so Marty heads home to inform his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) that they have to move. She is having an affair and has told the man about the cartel so Del disposes of him. Marty's kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) are not thrilled about the relocation.

In the Ozarks, the Byrdes move into a lake community that is full of all sorts of unique characters with regional eccentricities. Staying at a motel, Marty is paranoid of being robbed and he is by Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner) who is part of a local family that has had a lot of trouble with the local law enforcement. Marty has to deal with her and family members like her uncle Russ (Marc Menchaca) by explaining to them that they can't spend any of the money or the IRS will catch them. Charlotte has sparked a relationship with another member of the Langmore family, Wyatt (Charlie Tahan), despite his deception when they first met. Marty has to find businesses he can invest in so he asks around and lands on a dockside bar and cabin rental and a strip club.

On the trail of Marty is the FBI agent Roy Petty (Jason Butler Harner) who goes undercover to turn Russ against him. The family moved into a house owned by Buddy Dieker (Harris Yulin) who has a terminal illness and will only be around for another year. The owner of the strip club Bobby Dean (Adam Boyer) does not go along with Marty's plan to invest so he comes up with a way to get the strip club from him with the help of Ruth. Bobby worked for a heroin dealer Jacob Snell (Peter Mullan) who uses ruthless tactics to get what he wants. Marty finds himself in the middle of the Mexican cartel and the Snell's business when he takes their money laundering scheme from the strip club and disrupts their distribution by convincing a preacher Mason Young (Michael Mosley) to move his service from the lake where they sell the drugs to a church on the land, which would upset the local police.

Marty works to meet his goal of a certain amount of money for the cartel while Wendy becomes involved in a real estate business and then a funeral business. The tension rises as the cartel put a man on Marty's house to follow him around and the FBI gets closer to busting him. Russ Langmore tries to kill Marty but Ruth stops her using a method to electrocute him that she initially planned to use on Marty to steal his money, just as Russ was about to help Roy bust Ruth to turn on Marty. The Snells also become angry with the preacher who has learned of the drug dealing going on in his congregation so they cut out his wife's baby from her stomach. All of these complicated plot twists lead to Wendy taking the kids away and Marty taking Del to meet Jacob Snell. He manages to evade catastrophe by partnering the Snells with the cartel but then Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) becomes offended and shoots Del. Marty is stopped by the FBI but they have to let him go. His family returns setting up what could be a pretty wild second season.

Ozark really turned out to be a pleasant surprise taking its cues from successful shows like Breaking Bad and while though not being quite as good, it comes pretty close. The villains are numerous and it seemed like every episode introduced a new villain or complication that Marty or Wendy had to handle and they pulled it off cleverly. Bateman is entertaining in a more dramatic role while Linney brings her immense talent to add greatly to the show. Julia Garner was probably the most impressive performance and it's nice Peter Mullan getting more juicy roles as a villain after Quarry was canceled. I am glad Netflix is making stuff like this and has the freedom to just drop these episodes and it makes me more likely to check out other original series. I would highly recommend this show to those who like a solid antihero tale. 

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