Ozark Review – Spoiler Free
Ozark is a series available to watch on the Netflix and is one of this year’s original series’ to be released exclusive to Netflix subscribers. The show was created by Bill Dubuque (writer of the Accountant) and Mark Williams. Ozark stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner, Jason Butler Harner and Esai Morales.
At first I was a little unsure if I wanted to check out Ozark on Netflix, because after watching a couple of trailers, I wasn’t sure Jason Bateman would be great in a show that looks to have such a serious and dark tone to it. The actor is well known to be good with comedy roles and while I did see him do well in The Gift, I wasn’t so sure how he’d be in Ozark. But I can tell you that after watching all of the show, that Jason Bateman was actually perfect for the role and was very impressive in each and every episode of Ozark. After this. I am now a fully converted Jason Bateman fan.
What was even more impressive about Jason Bateman in Ozark, was that he actually did direct 4 out of the 10 episodes for the first season. These included episode 1 “Sugarwood”, episode 2 “Blue Cat”, episode 9 “Coffee Black” and episode 10 “The Toll”. I want to mention this because although he has done some directing work in the past with things like The Family Fang (2015), Ozark was something so much bigger than much of his previous works. The dark tone of the show that was set in the first episode was well maintained throughout the show and defined much of the Ozark experience.
Ozark’s dark tone is well suited to its narrative about a dodgy financial adviser who works as a financial manager for a Mexican drug cartel, who have him laundering money for them. Things early on go bad for our main character Martin, who has a falling out with his boss and as a last effort to save himself and his family, he suggests relocating from the city to the Ozarks in Missouri. It’s far away from the prying eyes of investigators where he can do his job well and in peace as it’s sort of quiet place no one knows about. Unknown to Martin though, is that the Ozark region isn’t such a nice and quiet place and the people are much tougher and even more cunning than those in the city. Along the way, the narrative frequently throws in complications created by various characters who live in the Ozark region, which keeps things interesting. Will Martin be able to save his family and complete his job at the new location?
The acting in Ozark is excellent. While I thought that Jason Bateman was great and have mentioned him enough, I was most impressed with Julia Garner who plays Ruth, a resident of Ozark. Ruth is a character that I thought embodies what you would call “street smarts” in a way that she’s able to take advantage of most situations easily, but she’s also almost like a villain in the show. Julia Garner was able to do a lot with this character and played her perfectly. There was a lot of character development for Ruth over the course of the show and she certainly was an interesting one to watch.
Another actor I thought was quite good was Esai Morales who some may know for his work on Caprica (2009). In Ozark, Esai Morales plays Del, who is from the Mexican cartel and is sort of the boss of Martin. Del really is generally the villain of the show and spends much of his time antagonising Martin (Jason Bateman). In the scenes with both Jason Bateman and Esai Morales the two worked well opposite each other and there was always a sense of tension when the two characters met.
Other actors such as Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Jason Butler Harner and everyone else in the show were all good too and no one was really bad or anything.
Over the course of the series, you get this very intense story about a family trying to survive in a suburb filled with some pretty bad people who are always looking to take advantage of situations. Martin’s family aren’t really angels themselves and are working for some very bad people who are putting pressure on them to deliver on their word and it makes for an interesting tale. Ozark is a story with heavy themes of survival at all costs and puts into question at times the ethics of certain things, but when you gotta survive, you gotta survive right?
Overall Ozark is a very impressive series. I highly recommend taking a look at it on Netflix when you have time or a spare weekend. I spent much of the last few days watching them all on a marathon stream and enjoyed every moment of it. It’s a well written show, with well written characters who all do get quite well developed as things go on. Jason Bateman was impressive, both as an actor and as director and did fine job with his work on Ozark. Julia Garner was also one of the standouts and was phenomenal with her role as Ruth as was Esai Morales. It’s a survival story, with some interesting characters and nice location. It’s worth taking some time to watch it this weekend or when you have free time on Netflix. It’s a great show!