After a brief theatrical run to make it eligible for awards season, Apple TV+ movie The Banker made its debut on the streaming service Friday.
The movie, based on a true story, stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, two of the first black bankers in the United States. To get around discriminatory Jim Crow-era laws, they hire a white man (played by Nicholas Hoult) to be the face of their business, while they pose as a chauffeur and janitor.
The Banker is directed by George Nolfi, who is perhaps best known for directing 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. The movie also stars Nia Long, Colm Meaney and Jessie Usher.
The Banker‘s journey to Apple TV+
The movie took a somewhat troubled route to screens. The Banker was originally scheduled to debut in theaters last December. A premiere was scheduled for AFI Fest in Los Angeles in November. However, everything was canceled due to allegations of abuse lodged against Bernard Garrett Jr., son of Bernard Garrett and a co-producer on the movie.
Garrett Jr. denied the allegations, made by his half-sisters, that he sexually molested them years earlier. Apple said it wanted to investigate the allegations.
In a January statement to Cult of Mac, Apple said:
“We wanted to take the time to understand the situation at hand — and after reviewing the information available to us, including documentation of the filmmakers’ research, we’ve decided to make this important and enlightening film available to viewers.”
The Banker: Reviews so far
On paper, a movie like this, based on true events and with stars like Jackson, seems like it should be tailor-made to win awards. Apple has reportedly made winning awards a cornerstone of its Apple TV+ strategy.
Initial reviews have been somewhat mixed, however. A Guardian review published this week awarded The Banker three stars out of a possible five. The review wrote:
“While director George Nolfi ensures that his film at least looks handsome to the very end, slickly recreating 60s LA, he stumbles to keep his story one that’s worth investing in as the script gets bogged down by the minutiae of banking and of the legalese attached to the plans constructed by the pair. What was once sparkling and tight starts to feel dull and it’s left to Mackie and Jackson to do the majority of the legwork.”
On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie’s critical score currently stands at 71% from 45 reviews. It’s audience score is an impressive 100% from 88 audience reviews. However, on IMDb, which is also comprised of audience reviews, it stands at 5.5 out of 10 from 150 reviews.
A new episode of Amazing Stories
Apple TV+ also debuted a new episode of the Steven Spielberg-produced Amazing Stories anthology. Titled “Dynoman and the Volt,” the description reads as following:
“An awkward young boy and his grandfather are transformed by the arrival of a mysterious ring ordered from a comic book 60 years ago.”
More to watch on Apple TV+
The Banker and Amazing Stories are the latest new shows to watch on Apple TV+. The subscription service costs $4.99 per month. If you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac, you get a year’s subscription free.
Looking for something great to stream? Check out Cult of Mac‘s roundup of the best Apple TV+ shows.