It seems like every year we get at least three different films like "The Banker." A biopic with big stars (Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult) that struggles to give any sense of how much time has passed between scenes.
"The Banker" looks like a million bucks. Sharply shot by cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen, clearly Apple+ spared no expense with this movie.
But the story struggles to focus it's attention on it's star, Bernard Garrett. Garrett (played by Mackie) is an African-American entrepreneur in the 1960s who leaves his home in Texas to start a career in real estate in Los Angeles.
Garrett teams up with rich playboy Joe Morris (played by Jackson) to start buying up properties around the City of Angels. The catch is they can't let people know who they are. They need a face. Specifically a white face. That's where Matt Steiner (played by Hoult) comes in, a young, failed business owner who just needs to play the part of management while Garrett and Morris run the show.
Once the trio buys hundreds of buildings in Los Angeles, Garrett turns his attention to a bank in his home town in Texas. His plan is to buy the bank and help the African-American community purchase homes and businesses. Something the Texas community isn't keen to.
Garrett is the protagonist of "The Banker," but the movie is at it's best when the trio is together. Somehow the three main characters keep my attention even when they are discussing bank financing. The dialogue is quick, crisp and has terrific humor. Garrett's wooden demeanor paired with Morris' playful touch keeps the movie light. Mix in Steiner's naivety and the movie has some fun moments.
But when the trio is separate, it's struggles to keep my attention.
This is the third movie on Apple+ since the streaming platform launched in November. So what does the massive corporation want out of it's service exactly? It's clearly trying to bolster its library with movies like "The Banker" and television shows like "See," "The Servant," and the critically-acclaimed "The Morning Show." It seems like they are in content-buying mode, trying to boost offerings without buying up movies and shows that can be found elsewhere.
But "The Banker" is merely fine, and an OK distraction in times like these.
It should be noted that "The Banker" was supposed to premiere shortly after the service launched, but it was delayed after sexual abuse accusations were made against Garrett's son, Bernard Garrett Jr., who was a producer on the movie. His name was ultimately removed from the credits. Garret Jr. has denied the accusations.
Matthew Lambert has written for RiverTown Multimedia for three years. Prior to joining the company, Lambert graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication: Journalism and a minor in Film Studies. Lambert will try any film once, but if he had his choice a Martin Scorsese or Paul Thomas Anderson film would be his choice.