Ozark – Money Laundering for Dummies?

Cast:- Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz

Genre:- Drama

Back in June or around then the ads for the next big Netflix shows started popping up – Ozark. It began with the caption – MONEY LAUNDERING 101. And I was hyped seeing it thinking it’s going to give me an insight on how money laundering actually works (not a fan of rewiring money here and there/ neither a fan of finance or economics) just like Politics is for House of Cards or Drug trade for Narcos. But turns out it was like criminal justice was to how to get away with murder.

For those of you who are wondering what I mean? Let me clear up the basics – HTGAWM (acronym, you are smart you can figure out I am talking about how to get away with murder) spoke about criminal justice extensively only in the first season and then got into their shapes of drama. Ozark in a way was a turn down in that manner. Will I watch the second season? Probably, only after I have exhausted my quota of other shows. That’s how I feel about it.

The show revolves around Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) a financial advisor who launders money for the second biggest cartel in Mexico. His partner Bruce Lidell (Josh Randal) his partner schemes off 8 million from the cartel and gets killed for it. As an act of mercy, the Kingpin’s emissary Del Rio (Esai Morales) gives him one chance to shift to the town near the lake of Ozarks with his family or face an imminent painful death where he shall launder the cartel’s money.

Charlotte :- You made us adults, the second you told us about what Dad was doing.

Let’s look at the cast:-

  1. It was an amusing sight to see Jason Bateman portray a serious role especially after all the horrible bosses movies I have seen him in. But I have to say, seeing him in that desperation just shows how he can mould a character given his past history.
  2. Laura Linney plays Linda Byrde , wife of Marty Byrde who is upset and heart broken when her affair ends up abruptly with the death of her paramour (male equivalent of a ‘mistress’). She shows the desperation of being a wife of a criminal and having to be the buffer between her kids.
  3. Sofia Hublitz plays Charlotte – the rebellious teen daughter who rebels against the decision of going to Ozark but eventually sees reason and becomes an adult early into her teens. The show more or less is how she accustoms to the decision of having to shift.
  4. Skylar Gaertner plays Jonah Byrde the son of Marty who takes a different path to the shift. He is the more of the weird one here than all three combined.
  5. Julia Garner plays Ruth Langmore who is trying to kill Marty and eventually rob him. She shows some true spirit and you can feel the conflict into timing his death. She knows the source of the money and wonders if killing him now, gives her the most amount of money or not and if she is ready to launder the money for the cartel or for herself.
  6. Esai Morales is the face of the villain here because you don’t actually see the kingpin, just his name. You actually dread his presence because every time he shows up either someone is gonna get hurt or die. Either one is going to happen – more like Negan from TWD (The walking dead, keep up guys!) but this one is definitive.
  7. Peter Mullan is the local heroin dealer who is furious that Marty has disrupted his chain with buying out businesses that laundered money for him. He too is the villain and you feel him make angry definitive statements which he fulfils. But his farm must be a graveyard few centuries down when it is vacated because the number of bodies that could be discovered then, my god!

Now let’s talk about the show as a whole.

 

screen-shot-2017-07-24-at-4-13-44-pm
The symbol at the start of every episode shows man’s relation to money. It’s very cryptographic and I may or may not have have deciphered it correctly.

 

Ozark promises a conceptual money laundering show at least that is what the advertisement shows. Now, whenever the same ad comes where you have to wait 5 seconds to skip it, it just makes me break the device I am viewing it on – that is how bad I felt when I saw the entire season. In the ad where he tells MONEY LAUNDERING 101 – that is the only trick he ever tells! With a bonus of probably one more trick but that’s it! We all know how merciless cartels really are and frankly, I thought they just take and ship their money offshores at least that is what movies like Bad boys or shows like NARCOS have always told us but this new clean money trade is bizarre. The show is good if you have no idea what it is about, it has regular amounts of drama, shady backstories, the new home hell after shifting the kids trauma, some person trying to loot their black money etc. all were specifically placed clichés all throughout but it kind of felt like a short sale, I for one was expecting it to be a better one with all the given hype Netflix was trying to sell us on. They could have done so much better. Everyone knows how finances in the real world runs superficially with dummy corporations, sales and purchases hyped to cover costs which never really happened etc. and the show could have incorporated so much more of that. We have shows like Suits or SHERLOCK that show the psyche of the protagonist and how he cleverly runs his known affiliations and I for one felt they didn’t even scratch the surface of that potential. They could have stepped in and seen how he calculates the money, invests it here and there to clean and earn more money along the way, you know limitless style.

All in all, I felt the show crippled the actors and could have done way more given the potential of financial manipulation is in the real world.

My rating:- Casual suicide of content

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