The Banker Review (Drama Biopic, 2020)

Learn more about the movie "The Banker" released in 2020. Honestly review and critics. Is it worthing to watch "The Banker"?
Last Updated
May 11, 2020

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The Banker - Storyline, Actors And Ratings

The movie "the Banker" is a drama-biopic production.

IMDB rated the movie with 7,2/10. According to Google Users - 92% of the people watched the movie liked the story.

Director: George Nolfi

Actors: Samuel Al Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Holt, Nia Long, Taylor Black, Colm Meaney, Jesse Usher, Michael Harney, Gregory Alan Williams, James Dumont.

I won't buy a Bank in Texas. He's such a pain in the ass! The difficult decision of the Bagel cat.



The Banker Review

African-American Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) was born in Texas in 1922. In his youth, he took any job, then slowly created his own small cleaning business. But Bernard was primarily interested in real estate investment, which was his goal. He knew that in Texas, a southern state where Confederate flags were displayed in many homes and where racial segregation was rampant in all areas of life, there was little hope for him, so when he had the chance, Bernard and his family moved to Los Angeles to live with his wife's relatives.

In Los Angeles, he first managed to persuade an Irish-born businessman, Patrick Barker (Colm Meaney), to sell him an apartment building with an installment payment, and when Barker saw how accurately Bernard fulfilled all his promises, he made him his partner at the rate of "50-50": they together bought, renovated and resold real estate in rich areas of Los Angeles.

However, at some point Barker died, his heiress put Bernard out of business, paying him only a quarter of the amount for his assets in the joint venture, and then Garrett had to look for a new partner.

He became Joe Morris (Samuel al Jackson), the Scion of a wealthy African-American family, who received a good inheritance and managed to multiply it: he owns several buildings in rich areas and two Nightclubs.

Bernard had the idea of purchasing the Banker's Building, the building that housed most of the banks in Los Angeles. Garrett correctly reasoned that when he and Joe became owners of the building, they would be able to get loans to buy real estate from their tenant banks.

However, in those days, two black gentlemen could not purchase such a building. So they hired a young man named Matt Steiner (Nicholas Holt) to serve as the face of their enterprise. Joe Morris "worked" as Matt's driver, controlling the situation and being able to attend some meetings.

All this was successful, Garrett and Morris became rich people, and then Bernard told Joe about his plan: he wants to buy a Bank in Texas to give loans to African-Americans to buy real estate and develop businesses. At that time, African-Americans were denied this opportunity, and Garrett wants to change this situation in his home state.


This film is based on a true story, and at least in the main features, there is exactly what happened. And Garrett's partnership with Barker, and the purchase of the Banker's Building on a front, and with Texas, it's all not fiction writers: Bernard and Joe in Los Angeles really had a whole Empire, they were rich people and Garrett could safely stay out of this hornet's nest - Texas. But he was a staunch anti-segregation campaigner: both in Los Angeles, he tried to populate apartment buildings in white neighborhoods with African-Americans, and in Texas, he bought two banks just to lend to blacks.

The production of the picture was funded by Apple, this is one of the first original Apple pictures, they had ambitious plans for this film: the company hoped that the picture could qualify for the"Oscar". However, before the theatrical release, which was supposed to take place in early December last year, there was a scandal with Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the main character of the film, who was also a co-producer of the picture. His half-sisters accused Garrett Jr. of sexually abusing them, which took place in the seventies of the last century.

Garrett Jr.

As a result, Apple had to cancel the movie screening, Garrett Jr.'s name was removed from the credits, and he stopped participating in events to promote the picture. As far as I understand, the film was never released, but in the spring the picture appeared in the streaming service AppleTV+.

The film was directed by George Nolfi, the Director and screenwriter of the mediocre science fiction film "reality Changers". However, here both the script (there were five screenwriters, including Nolfi himself) and the production are very worthy.

Despite the two-hour timing, the film does not look long and looks quite cheerful. The story of how Bernard was able to persuade Mr. Barker to sell him the building is already quite interesting, and when Garrett met dashing Joe Morris, there was a specific fun, especially when they began to train a young white guy, Matt, accustoming him to the life and habits of rich white people.

Until about the middle of the film, the whole story seems slightly glossy and varnished: one minute Bernard was penniless, and then boom-together with Joe, he already bought a huge building in downtown Los Angeles.

But in the picture everything is so constructed that when they get involved in the story with Texas, then all this gloss stops, because they took risks there at every step and eventually finished playing. (Actually, the picture begins with the scene of a government judicial investigation conducted by Senator from Arkansas John McLellan, where Garrett gives evidence that may end badly for him.)

The details of all this will not be discussed now, so as not to spoilers for those who have not yet watched the film, we will talk about all the details in the PostScript to the review.

Anthony Mackie as Bernard Garrett - in General, quite good, but he lacks charisma. Here, for example, Mahershala Ali ("Green Book", "True detective 3"," House of Cards"), as I think, this role would have played noticeably brighter.

Samuel al Jackson, on the other hand, portrayed Joe Morris perfectly atomically: a cynical man who values and loves all kinds of pleasure, and who has a solid tandem with Bernard and turned out only because they are two complete opposites. Jackson's character clearly gives a lot of pleasure, and he is drawn out in the picture with all his might - it's just great.

Young Matt Steiner played by Nicholas Holt does not immediately come to the fore in the film, but just in the second half, he has a lot of notable episodes, and I must say that I liked Holt here: straight young Tom Cruise, who has not yet learned his standard acting techniques, which in the real Tom cruise, we are very irritated at times with the bagel.

Holt also had a difficult task: in the story, Matt is no one at all and his name is nothing, his two black gentlemen have trained him to serve as a "white screen", but since the banks they own, Bernard and Joe can only enter as drivers or cleaners, Matt is under a lot of pressure, and Holt was able to show it quite well.

Another of the acting works liked Nia long, who played Eunice, Bernard's wife. She didn't have many episodes, she spoke mostly in more or less typical phrases like "I believe in you", but even with this, she already drew attention to herself, an interesting actress.

The decorators, props specialists, and artists did a great job: America of the fifties and sixties was recreated very well, and it all looks solid and dignified.

I liked it, looked with pleasure. All sorts of details and figures from the world of the real estate market are presented dosed, and they are really important for perception, it is all done smoothly and at a good level. Quite worthy of viewing, in my opinion. And because of Jackson-and even more so, Jackson-just fire!

P. S. Now we will discuss some moments from the film for those who have already watched it. (Of course, further will go solid spoilers.)

From what real history material I could find, it didn't follow that Bernard had been dumped by the Barker heiress. At the time of Barker's death, Garrett was worth $1.5 million (now it's about $15 million), and it was after the death of his partner that he already had the money to implement an audacious plan to buy the Banker's Building in order to gain certain means of influence over the banks.

There is a lot of ambiguity about what happened in Texas. They first bought Main Land Bank & Trust Co. (Garrett and Morris had other partners, including don Silverthorn, President of the National Bank of San Francisco), and then First National Bank of Marlin. The film shows that the purchase of the second Bank was the idea of Matt, who wanted to become the sole Manager of the Bank, and this resulted in the collapse, but where I read about this story, it says that it was Matt who protested against the purchase of the second Bank.

But Steiner really messed up there because he didn't track the change in banking legislation in time, which resulted in Garrett and Morris, as the actual owners of the banks, being brought before the Commission to investigate the improper use of funds, and they were sentenced to three years in prison, being released after nine months on PAROLE.

It is not known if Garrett was offered a deal. In the film, he seems to have agreed to a deal so that Arkansas Senator John McLellan could advance his amendments to banking legislation, but at the trial, he broke out in a passionate speech against segregation, for which, in fact, he ended up in prison.

However, here is a picture from the courtroom: a lawyer for a crying Garrett reads out his client's statement at a government hearing.

However, I will emphasize that at least in all interviews, Bernard repeatedly emphasized that he bought banks in Texas with the main purpose - to give African-Americans access to Bank loans.

And here is a note from the press of that time: "How two janitors bought a white Bank in Texas."


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