Apple TV + latest foray into the film world is an endearing and impactful look a the systematic racism that plagues our American history. Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson hold strong as two business savvy African-American men who secretly changed the banking world. Is the film worthy your time and most important money?
Yes. THE BANKER highlights the magical team that is Mackie and Jackson as vastly different figures Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris. The movie does a lovely job of establishing the yin/yang appeal of these two unique gentlemen. Mix in the constant fear of being found out and the movie never loses its entertaining connection. Mackie really showcases a bravado and stoic figure that should be heralded but in the 60s was hated. A successful black man in that time was a sign of the evils of freedom to the white establishment. Luckily we spend more time seeing Mackie grow from his working relationship with Jackson’s Morris and Nicholas Hoult’s Matt Steiner. Hoult gives a really understated performance that holds the film together. The way we see his obvious growth allows for Garrett and Morris tale to be given enough of a positive arc. Hoult, Mackie, and Jackson seem to be having so much fun dressing up and doping these silly racist bankers.
The sincerity of a film like Green Book but replacing the nostalgia with a fiery will to see change makes The Banker really enjoyable. Nia Long’s slightly understated performance as Eunice Garrett seems to be the only lacking element of the movie. Her character holds so much worthy elements that are sadly pushed to the background. She still delivers in every scene and her presence is a nice change to the masculine battles of Mackie and Jackson.
Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography mixes so well with the wonderful production design of John Collins. 1960’s LA and Rural Texas are vibrantly showcased and give the film a lovely visual touch that shows the attention to detail a period piece deserves. The homes, the cars and also the clothing design by Aieisha Li really stand out. Suits and hats are colorful and pressed to a pristine look that invigorates the movie.
Overall a film worthy of your time and money for its great performances, visual look and stellar way of pulling you into the 1960s of Garrett and Morris.
THE BANKER – 4 Stars.
Directed by: George Nolfi
Written by: George Nolfi, Brad Kane, Niceole R. Levy, David Lewis Smith and Stan Younger
Running Time: 2h
Limited Release March 6th & Live on Apple TV+ March 20th
Starring: Antony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, Colm Meaney, and Taylor Black
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.