The Banker (2020) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring story of how a shoeshiner black kid growing up in the racially divided 60s manages to overcome plenty to become one of the first black owners of American banks and prime building locations. It’s a rags to riches story in the typical format except it’s is more calculated and intelligent in its execution as the underlying character have both ambition and drive to succeed. Director George Nolfi (previously directed “The Adjustment Bureau”) pace the film perfectly with rarely a dull moment in the fight for equal rights and freedom to the so called American dream.
Anthony Mackie is excellent as the ambitious Bernard Garrett and mastermind behind all the clever investments and money making adventure. Mackie combines especially well with Samuel L Jackson who plays richly connected club owner Joe Morris. Jackson shines with sheer presence in all his flamboyance scenes and creating a lively atmosphere and fun. Nicholas Hoult plays Matt Steiner, the front White man for the duo to pull all the strings behind the scenes. Nia Long produces a strong performance as the ultra positive yet supportive wife that becomes the cornerstone of Garret’s eventual rise to the top.
All in all, “The Banker” is an excellent example how to film an entertaining biopic with plenty of inspiring elements within it. Filled with excellent performances as we see the characters go through such difficulties to achieve what they deserve. Capitalism and fighting thru racial discrimination in the 60s and 80s have been depicted in countless films and this one worked out like a candle in the wind.
I rated it 8/10