Ozark, or rather the Missouri Ozarks, is the location Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman, who also directs the first two episodes of this new Netflix series) and his family have to relocate to following a bit of a pickle in which he puts them.
As he explains at the start, most Americans are in debt, and that money is the measure of a man’s choices, including buying real estate and building space that you can’t really afford. So, what do you do when you owe $8m to a drug dealer? Move somewhere else! But it’s not quite that simple, since in order to escape from sleeping with the fishes – for not only him but the rest of his family, he’s going to have to get into the money-laundering business for drug dealer Del Rio (Esai Morales).
Marty’s a family man, although his kids ignore him and he lives in a sex-less marriage for reasons that’ll be revealed early on in the first episode, so it’s not as if they’ll take any of this lightly.
With 10 episodes being released at once on July 21st, what starts off with blistering tension between Marty and Del Rio (Esai Morales), Marty and his wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), Marty and his kids Jonah and Charlotte – in fact, Marty and just about everybody, including the redneck lawbreaker Langmore family, leads to things going from bad to worse for the Byrdes. And then to even worse to the point that you want to scream out loud with them!
I thoroughly enjoyed all ten, and there’s first-rate performances from all concerned, including engaging tertiary characters such as the local sheriff, as well as Buddy (Harris Yulin) – the old man the Byrdes sort-of try to buy a house from, Kevin Johnson as estate agent Sam Dermody, Marc Menchaca as fisherman and redneck Russ Langmore, Grandma‘s Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore and, of course, Peter Mullan as redneck Jacob Snell, getting in on the money-making action, much to Marty’s chargrin.
Initially, the show started to settle down a bit by episode three, but there’s always something surprising coming up for the Byrde family, including a church service in the most bizarre of places, and then just when you think the show might need a bit more tension… oh boy, does it come!
This series is also very clever how it doesn’t always follow a straight timeline within an episode.
Ozark definitely brings something new to the ‘fish out of water’ premise and it kept it up throughout, resulting in a series which is consistent, gripping, thrilling, brilliant and one of the best new series of the year, laced with powerful performances, superb direction and great acting.
In fact, when it comes to dark drama, if you like the fantastic Fargo, you’ll love Ozark!
Also, while Netflix don’t have to have streaming programmes rated by the BBFC, I reckon they’d give some episodes an 18-cert, with most of them a 15-cert, so while it can occasionally get a bit gruesome, it should be fine for anyone 15 and up, and with a strong stomach! It’s certainly NOT for children.
And a spoilery bit, so only read when you’ve seen it all….
Ozark isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but click on the top image for the full-size version.
Running 10*60 minutes
Released: July 21st 2017
Series Directors: Jason Bateman, Andrew Bernstein, Ellen Kuras, Daniel Sackheim
Series Producer: Patrick Markey
Writers/Creators: Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams
Music: Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans
Marty Byrde: Jason Bateman
Wendy Byrde: Laura Linney
Charlotte Byrde: Sofia Hublitz
Jonah Byrde: Skylar Gaertner
Ruth Langmore: Julia Garner
Boyd Langmore: Christopher James Baker
Russ Langmore: Marc Menchaca
Del Rio: Esai Morales
Cade Langmore: Trevor Long
Buddy: Harris Yulin
Roy Petty: Jason Butler Harner
Three: Carson Holmes
Agent Trevor Evans: McKinley Belcher III
Jacob Snell: Peter Mullan
Darlene Snell: Lisa Emery
Sam Dermody: Kevin Johnson
Eugenia Dermody: Sharon Blackwood
Tuck: Evan George Vourazeris
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.