Critics call Apple’s The Banker ‘emotionally satisfying’ but also 'staid'

Critics call Apple TV+ movie The Banker ‘emotionally satisfying’ but ‘staid’

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Apple TV will debut “The Banker” later this month.
Nicholas Hoult, Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie often drew praise for their work in The Banker.
Photo: Apple

Reviews for Apple’s The Banker are generally positive, but some critics had some harsher comments about this portrayal of black entrepreneurs tricking racist white businessmen during the Jim Crow era.

This movie will hit the Apple TV+ service later this month.

The Banker pays a debt to two real men

The Banker stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, fresh from the Avengers series, as ambitious black real estate investors. To combat systematic racism, they hire a white man (Nicholas Hoult) as the face of their business. The film is based on the lives of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times calls it “a crackling good, emotionally satisfying, old-fashioned thriller, with readily identifiable heroes and hiss-worthy villains.”

Multiple critics commented that the film often goes in depth about details of the banking industry. Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times notes “For good stretches, The Banker can be as dryly engineered as a loan application, but the galvanizing story it tells — like a last stand of rebel ingenuity before the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made discrimination unlawful — is a solid interest-earner.”

But not everyone is sold on Apple’s creation. “There’s something staid and contained about it,” wrote Owen Gleiberman in Variety. “You may wish that you were reading about these events in The New Yorker, because the movie is so choked with neutral detail that it’s a little bloodless. It lacks fire.”

The film debuts in theaters tomorrow before heading to the Apple TV+ streaming service on Friday, March 20.