Review: Ozark Season 1 Episode 1 “Sugarwood”

The current era of television both works in the favour of ‘Ozark’ and against it. The show wears its ambition on its sleeve, setting up an almost philosophical level of discussion on the value of money in relation to the ones we love and our own moral standpoint. It is a fascinating character study that takes expectations of the audience, constructed through the thriving anti-hero television genre, and adds a different perspective. Marty dives between trying to take risk and escaping his own framed mindset of what that entails, and trying to encapsulate what the normal family man is. Bateman’s performance is never mind-blowingly good here, but the internal frustrations and pondering the actor showcases could develop excellently. Unfortunately, while the interaction between crime and family is superb, especially as its distinction of good and evil, or light and dark is blurred, the pace does undercut some complexity. Wendy jumps between mindsets, but hers are never as fully symbolised or promoted. They feel reactionary or simplified due to the audience not yet understanding the character. ‘Ozark’ will need some time to truly become what it wants to be. But at this stage, I would say it has a very good chance of doing so. 8.4/10

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