As the rise of streaming services continues, Apple, with their Apple TV service, bring us their second feature length movie, The Banker.
The movie is inspired by the true events of Joe Morris, Bernard Garrett and Matt Steiner, played by Samuel L. Jackson (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”, “Captain Marvel”), Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Endgame”, “Black Mirror (TV)”) and Nicholas Hoult (“Mad Max: Fury Road”, “The Favourite”).
Garrett is a driven, entrepreneurial, maths wizard who is black at a time when being black, early sixties USA, wasn’t the thing to be. He wants to begin purchasing homes in white only neighbourhoods, on the edge of black only neighbourhoods.
When his first partnership, with businessman Patrick Barker, Colm Meaney (“Con Air”, “Under Siege”), ends badly and he struggles to get a loan from the bank due to the colour of his skin, he opts for a more radical approach.
Together with Morris, a larger than life nightclub owner who already owned a number of properties, they hatch a plan to purchase the Bankers Building in downtown LA, the tallest building in the area, home to a number of banks.
In order for this to work though, they can’t make the purchases, so they convince Steiner, a young man who wants to be entrepreneurial but isn’t quite that smart, to be their face, their white face to the community.
They teach Steiner golf, buy him suits and golf clothes and how to eat silver service as well as finances and business in general. Steiner might not be that smart, but he has an astonishing memory and commits the numbers to his head, confidently talking about them when the time arises.
Everything’s going swimmingly, until Garrett returns to his hometown of Willis, Texas and gets annoyed at the social and racial injustice he sees. He convinces a very reluctant Morris to buy the local bank in his town and begin lending to the local black community.
Whilst this may increase profits, it does not please everyone, in particular the son of the former owner, Robert, Scott Johnson (“Creepshow (TV)”, “To Catch A Killer (TV)”), who keeps a stake in the bank, but does whatever he can to get his new owners out, particularly when he learns they’re black.
What follows is yet more shame to be heaped on the past of another country at their attitudes and prejudices. The Federal System leaves the trio with no way out, attempting to turn them all on each other, all in an attempt to get the system changed to stop people of colour buying banks in the future.
Regular readers will know my thoughts on numerous writers working on the same script, The Banker has five: Brad Kane (“Fringe (TV)”, “Black Sails (TV)”), Niceole R. Levy (“Shades Of Blue (TV)”, “Cloak & Dagger”), David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger and George Nolfi (“Spectral”, “The Adjustment Bureau”) who also directed.
However, whilst this may, or may not, have been a factor in the length of the film, which at two hours feels long, what they’ve ended up with is a delightful movie; sharp, funny and yet able to shine a light on a travesty. Had it been shorter and as snappy as some of the dialogue, it would have been a delight. Still, The Banker is a good film and well worth a watch.