Ozark

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Murdoch
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Ozark

#1 Post by Murdoch » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:32 pm

This show could easily be written off as a Breaking Bad clone - A middle-aged man with a mundane profession and a drive (or excuse) to provide for his family works with drug cartels to get a better life. For the first few episodes it doesn't rise above this impression, and despite some moments of sudden violence it feels very familiar. Not until midway through the season did I discover the show had grabbed hold of me.

When it's revealed that the town Bateman and his family flee to isn't some middle-of-nowhere refuge from the world but rather its own insidious web of corruption and false identities, the dull mechanics of a familiar plot give way to something more complex. Bateman, diving into the role of the manipulative and fast-talking financial advisor Marty Byrde, separates his character from that of Walter White. He's not the self-obsessed genius with a god complex. The writers don't paint him as down-on-his-luck and in need of a break. From the start he's talking himself out of trouble, his voice calm and desperate and demeanor cowering. It's hard to root for him since he has so few redeeming qualities, but at the same time watching him negotiate around people's misgivings makes for a compelling experience.

Despite Bateman giving a career performance, Julia Garner is the standout of the show. Her deadly teen that bounces between family matriarch and petty criminal toes a fine line between sympathetic and cruel. In fact, the characters of the show elevate it above the plot, which suffers from the ridiculous - Byrde being able to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars through an unpopular lakeside bar - and the familiar. A murderous couple that runs a heroin ring through their family farm, a born-again preacher that gives his sermon on a boat on the lake, Byrde's son who takes up stalking through the woods with a rifle to protect his family's new home. All these come together to form a shady underbelly that becomes more threatening the deeper into it Byrde delves. It's not perfect, but out of the avalanche of new Netflix shows this has become a favorite of mine.
Last edited by Murdoch on Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: Ozark

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:59 am

I thought this show was ripping off Justified, not Breaking Bad? I was excited to see Josh Randall from Ed was in this, but it's my understanding he's not for long...

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Murdoch
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Re: Ozark

#3 Post by Murdoch » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:25 pm

I can see the Justified comparison, it has a similar feel to season 2, I guess a combination of the two shows?

re: Josh Randall:
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His role is quite brief, outside of some flashbacks.

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jbeall
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Re: Ozark

#4 Post by jbeall » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:50 pm

I'm only a couple episodes in, but finding it a little formulaic. I was interested because the show was filmed at Lake Allatoona in north Georgia, and some of the in-town scenes were filmed in Lawrenceville, where I live (and which also happens to be the city where Larry Flynt was shot and paralyzed). But so far the main character is a lot less interesting than Walter White.
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Walt at least became loathsome, but Bateman's character starts out that way.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Ozark

#5 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:15 pm

Murdoch wrote:Despite Bateman giving a career performance, Julia Garner is the standout of the show. Her deadly teen that bounces between family matriarch and petty criminal toes a fine line between sympathetic and cruel. In fact, the characters of the show elevate it above the plot, which suffers from the ridiculous - Bird being able to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars through an unpopular lakeside bar - and the familiar. A murderous couple that runs a heroin ring through their family farm, a born-again preacher that gives his sermon on a boat on the lake, Bird's son who takes up stalking through the woods with a rifle to protect his family's new home. All these come together to form a shady underbelly that becomes more threatening the deeper into it Bird delves. It's not perfect, but out of the avalanche of new Netflix shows this has become a favorite of mine.
Don't mean to nitpick but it's spelled "Byrde".

I'll go you one better and suggest that the children are actually overshadowing their adult counterparts. If you did a show like this more from their perspective I think it would come off much more interesting, than having to be dealt with the comparisons the show naturally has been given.

Some very interesting casting choices, particularly Peter Mullan (playing a character not far removed one he did last year on TV, but a bit more nasty and overtly malevolent) and Harris Yulin. His scenes with the Byrde's son were some of the highlights for me.

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aox
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Re: Ozark

#6 Post by aox » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:42 pm

I'm only two episodes in, and there are certainly things to like here, but it can be really bad in terms of writing and a waste of lot of its time economy. Some of the convenient contrivances in the screenplay really irked me. Or, just nonsensical sequences.
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The truck with the barrels of acid crashing. Bateman still using his AmEx. His attempted suicide. Why didn't he call his Chicago PI about life insurance investigations before telling Linney his plan? That was a complete waste of 10(?) minutes. How did the daughter know where the robbers would be? I must have missed some dialogue.

And of course, even though Bateman does address it, how did he not know about the skimming operation?
My problem is mostly Bateman
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We're lead to believe he is a genius, but he seems so completely inept at being a tough guy like Walter White when he needs to be. I assume this may change over the next eight episodes. His character just doesn't seem consistent or congruent.

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Murdoch
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Re: Ozark

#7 Post by Murdoch » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:32 pm

Don't mean to nitpick but it's spelled "Byrde".
Edited.

A lot of the criticisms I agree with. I struggled through the first episodes and the writing of the show remains flawed, with some things making no sense at all to me (Why does it matter whether the preacher is on a boat or in a church? How does that operation even work?). But the last few episodes set up an interesting arc, with the mix of Mexican drug lords and rural heroin pushers promising in its culture clash.

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Re: Ozark

#8 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:40 pm

domino harvey wrote:I thought this show was ripping off Justified, not Breaking Bad?
Worse than that, it reminded me a lot of Bloodline, which I knew you couldn't stand.

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domino harvey
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Re: Ozark

#9 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:43 pm

Renewed for season two

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Re: Ozark

#10 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:12 pm

Not surprised. They've got to renew something!

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mfunk9786
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Re: Ozark

#11 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:43 am

aox wrote:I'm only two episodes in, and there are certainly things to like here, but it can be really bad in terms of writing and a waste of lot of its time economy. Some of the convenient contrivances in the screenplay really irked me. Or, just nonsensical sequences.
SpoilerShow
The truck with the barrels of acid crashing. Bateman still using his AmEx. His attempted suicide. Why didn't he call his Chicago PI about life insurance investigations before telling Linney his plan? That was a complete waste of 10(?) minutes. How did the daughter know where the robbers would be? I must have missed some dialogue.

And of course, even though Bateman does address it, how did he not know about the skimming operation?
My problem is mostly Bateman
SpoilerShow
We're lead to believe he is a genius, but he seems so completely inept at being a tough guy like Walter White when he needs to be. I assume this may change over the next eight episodes. His character just doesn't seem consistent or congruent.
This is exactly where I am and I fucking hate this show thusfar. How many times are we supposed to be expected to swallow long monologues by Bateman to people who have no plot reason to buy into his bullshit for longer than it takes to repeatedly beat him to a pulp?
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The idea, for example, that he could talk millions of dollars out of the hands of a family of novice criminals is absolutely absurd. I could not believe what I was being asked to swallow.
The whole thing plays as a limousine liberal fantasy of talking down and speechifying to the poor and disenfranchised, or playing them off as insulting one-dimensional gags (the real estate agent with the peanut butter, the homeowner with the heart condition, the pregnant stripper) as if any of these characters, or their real-life analogues, would or should give anything approaching a shit what Bateman’s character should have to say to them (or do for them, as that seems to be the direction we’re headed in). Fuck this show. I’ll watch another episode or two but optimism & long term prospects are abysmally low. Here’s one way to obtain a new appreciation of what a tightrope Breaking Bad was able to masterfully walk - if that’s my only takeaway from Ozark, at least it’s something of value.

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