Ozark tells the story of a seemingly mild-mannered Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman, at his absolute best), a financial advisor, husband and father of two children. He live his life going through the motions. Or so it seems.
Using the financial advisor job as a cover, Marty is actually involved in the drug cartel underbelly of Chicago. When partners of his do their boss wrong, Marty comes up with an escape plan to save his life, and also the business.
He drags his wife (Laura Linney) and kids with them the coast of Missouri, also known as the Ozarks. It’s a popular summer vacation spot where Marty thinks he can launder money with no trouble, and bring in extra cash to keep his boss happy. However, there’s some characters in the Ozarks that are not ready to buckle under Byrde’s charming/cunning character, and he finds himself scrambling to keep himself and his family above water.
Ozark shares similar elements to a little show called Breaking Bad, the latter of which ran for five seasons. I don’t know if Ozark will reach that milestone but as for now, the initial first season (more to come, of course) was really good, and definitely recommened binge worthy entertainment. I’ve always been a fan of Bateman since Arrested Development and here he shows a complete demonstration of his spectacular range. I hope he gets some sort of nomination for his efforts. Not only is he the main star of this program, but he also directed four episodes.
On a related note-throughout the run, the cinematography is beautiful, even if it’s painted in grays, blues, and similar dark palettes.
While Bateman is phenomenal, the rest of the cast isn’t up to par. There is solid to decent acting by others in the show. Besides Bateman and Linney (who doesn’t really offer much), there’s not a real recognizable face here (although two Scrubs alumni I was able to point out!). I did actually find the Byrde kids (Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner) to be very good in their roles, which is a plus due to the fact that child actors can be borderline annoying.
Still, Ozark is a quick ride, being only 10 episodes, compared to a network TV show being 12-13, and therefore I think it’s a stronger effort than other Netflix entries who go that long because the filler isn’t as heavy, and the main story doesn’t get led astray. I had a great time watching the first season and while I’m not sure how they will continue on, I will most definitely check out season 2 when it arrives in 2018.