April 23, 2018

Ozark on Netflix

Netflix continues to attract viewers with its engaging original programming. Ozark, starring Justin Bateman and Laura Linney, is reminiscent of Breaking Bad where a seemingly straight-arrow guy descends to the criminal world of drugs, money laundering and murder. The story starts out in a gorgeously-filmed Chicago where Marty Byrde is a financial advisor.
Enter a very scary drug cartel boss played by Esai Morales and the story ratchets up to life and death situations. In order to save himself and his family, Marty comes up with the idea to move his financial operations to Lake of the Ozarks where he wrongly assumes that money-laundering will be an easy walk in the woods.

The family encounters gun-toting rednecks, rival drug dealers and money- launderers, a young woman who is a master thief and others who have ended up in this rustic locale to escape their checkered pasts. Throw in a wife who has cheated on him, a gay and twisted FBI agent who like Javert is on Marty’s trail and an alluring female owner of a failing resort who may spark Marty’s attention. Marty’s two children, a nerdy son and an attractive teenage girl add to the hot mess.

Stand-out performances include that of Julia Garner who plays the young  thief, plus veteran actor Harris Yulin who sells the Byrdes his home with the condition that he get to live in it, with them, until he dies.
Particularly impressive is Bateman who directs four of Ozark‘s ten episodes and plays mightily against type as this loving but criminal father, husband and businessman.
The beautiful Lake of the Ozarks is now on my travel list with the hope that drug-dealing, money-laundering, theft and murder are fictional constructs.

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