Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Ozark two seasons

“I had a very stressful day,” a character in this riveting 2-season show says to another character, and I could certainly understand this. The characters in this series about drug cartels, and a middle class family from Chicago who get sweep up in it have stressful days and nights, and sometimes mornings and afternoons. The audience I would think would also have stress watching the terrors and perils of the Byrd family, I know I did.  The show opens in Chicago where Marty Byrde a financial advisor played wonderfully by Jason Bateman and his business partner are meeting with the head of a Mexican drug cartel played by the handsome and little seen actor Esai Morales. Things are not right, Marty and his partner wash money for the cartel, money is missing and soon the things that are not right will get out of hand. Deaths and escapes begin and the Byrde family fly off for the Ozarks, which is a destination, they arrive at by chance and desperation. The family Byrde is made up of a cheating wife played with her usual greatness by Laura Linney (does any actress show nastiness and contempt better than her?) and their two children a girl 15 and a boy 13, which seems to be a prerequisite for television series these days. The kids are wise and knowing and both will play an integral part in the family’s travails so they can stay. Yes the series is about drugs, gangsters and murder, but it is really about families, good and bad and the troubles that they get into. The villains are all over the place most of them are scary and evil and some can be found in places of justice and law enforcement. They are compelling and hard not to watch. The cast is full and rich with many actors unknown to me and some familiar like Harris Yulin, the fine Scottish actor Peter Mullan with a perfect Southern accent, The great British actress Janet McTeer who plays the cold as ice lawyer for the cartel, and Julia Gardner who is rough and raw as the daughter of a local small time crime family living out their trash lives in a trailer park. Bateman who also directed a few of the episodes was basically unknown and unseen by me, since I never saw his network TV. shows that were mainly geared for his teenage followers, so his performance came as a welcomed surprise to me, he is brilliant. The violence is harsh and most of it is off camera but still there is enough shown that some can become rattled by it, there is hardly anyone left standing at the end of season 2. Brash, unconventional and startling this one is right up there with Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, Mind Hunter and The Sopranos. I can offer some criticisms of it but why bother when overall it is so good.  A third season is planned.              


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