Pros: Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie and Nicholas Hoult, who came together in one film not about the Marvel adaptations; shooting style; pace and plot development; work of a costume designer Cons: the script as a whole greatly idealizes the characters and the story itself “The Banker” / The Banker
Directed by George Nolfi
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson (Joe Morris), Anthony Mackie (Bernard Garrett), Nicholas Hoult (Mat Steiner), Nia Long (Anise Garrett), Taylor Black (Susie), Michael Harney (Melvin), Colm Meaney (Patrick), Paul Ben-Victor (Donald), Rhoda Griffis (Mrs. Barker), etc.
Компании Romulus Entertainment, Hyphenate Films, Iam21 Entertainment
Year of release 2020
As the film’s opening sequence suggests, the film was based on real events. They took place in the 1950s and 1960s in an America that had not yet eradicated racial segregation in most states.
The main character, Bernard Garrett, was born in Texas, where he, like other black people, was treated with disdain. After becoming a realtor with a background in banking, Bernard moved with his family to California, hoping to gain a better chance in the real estate business. The hero turned out to be right, but in order to become truly successful, you need to use tricks and not show the color of your skin to the bankers. To implement this plan, the hero has to enlist the support of nightclub owner Joe Morris, who is his complete opposite, and together with him pull off a cunning scam in the name of a good cause.
The drama “The Banker” was a fairly anticipated premiere from Apple TV+ back in the fall of 2019, and the film was included in the program of the American Film Institute festival in Los Angeles. Nothing came to fruition as planned, with Apple canceling screenings and releasing a statement about “some concerns” surrounding the film.
The reason turned out to be quite unpleasant: one of the co-producers of the film, Bernard Garrett Jr. (the son of the man discussed in the film) was accused of sexual harassment of his stepsisters. Apple, naturally, removed his name from the credits, wrote a statement with excuses, and still dared to release the film on its service.
The film’s problems did not end there and, as is usually the case with biographical films, “The Banker” was accused of inaccurate reporting of events. Well, this is no longer so scary and, to be honest, it is not important for the viewer. Joe Morriseau (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Bernard Garrett (played by Anthony Mackie) are noticeably idealized, and also in their own way devoid of real life drama, so “The Banker” is almost immediately perceived as a quality feature film, and not as an attempt to reproduce events according to historical documents.
First of all, I like the film for its shooting style and color rendition, reminiscent of old paintings. The way the story is told is also old-fashioned, which is good for that. We gradually follow realtor Bernard Garrett, see evidence of his sharp mind, and after a long introduction, we move on to the most important thing – the reason why he became a legend in the real estate industry, where no black person could get into.
Usually, watching films about real estate agents and banking is extremely boring, especially if they try to calculate the capitalization rate. Director George Nolfi (previously directed The Adjustment Bureau) bypasses the tedious moments, turning them into part of the con. At times, the pace of the film changes, becoming perky, and almost transforms into a comedy thanks to the character of Nicholas Hoult. But “The Banker” does not remain in this mood for too long, returning to seriousness in time and acquiring moderate tension in the plot.
Not without the charm of Samuel L. Jackson, who invests his hero with a laid-back charisma, thanks to which most of the scenes in the film turn out to be extremely successful. For the rest of his screen time, Anthony Mackie’s character displays thorough perseverance in his pursuit of the American dream, which is shattered by racial discrimination.
Although the description of “The Banker” resembles another drama, once again suggesting the importance of equal rights, the film does not turn into a complete edification. Thanks to the actors and costume designers, the film is easy and fun to watch, even if there are financial discussions in the scenes that the main character focuses on.
a stylish film that has an interesting premise, a scam and mild drama.