Short Review

Ozark is a series distributed by Netflix between 2017 and 2022, surrounding a family, the Byrde’s, that launder money for a drug cartel. 
That is the simplest way to describe a seires which is, in fact, full of twists, complex characters and moral debates.

Ozark starts with an apparently normal family guy, Marty Byrde, living in Chicago. Reality, though, is far from normal: his job as an accountant is a masquerade for money laundring for a Mexican cartel. When his boss, a dangerous man, discovers that Marty has been scamming him, he proceeds to kill him with no second thoughts. Seconds thoughts come when Marty proposes, in a desperate attempt to save his own life, to move to the lake of Ozark, where he will have plenty of opportunities to launder a big amount of money.

That is how Marty and Wendy Byrde move to the Ozarks with their son and daughter. There, local people like Ruth Langmore will soon realise Marty’s true business and will try to interfere in different ways.

The series consists then of different storylines. For instance, Ruth becomes a partner of Marty Byrde; a troubled policeman from Chicago establishes a romantic relationship with Ruth’s uncle in order to get information about the Byrde’s, the daughter of the family starts making new connections, a couple of locals starts disapproving Marty’s business, and so on. In different points of the story, these plots overlap, creating a pleasant sensation in the audience when seeing how all the threads come together in a dazzling way, fulfilling a whole picture of narrative complexity. The audience always likes it when they understand something apparently hard.

Ultimately, the series uses violence and suspense to convey a bigger message: the importance of the family. No matter how many conflicts and problems they come across, their family ends up sticking together and facing all the enemies in team work. While it is a beautiful conception of community and family, it also comes with its problems. It is nice that it highlights appreciation for the loved ones; however, at the same time, it is easy to interpret it as an encouragement for settling for situations that might turn oppresive. In other words, no matter if your husband is a criminal or if he aims at being the leading hand at all times (although Wendy Byrde notably gains power in that sense along the seasons), “family or community always sticks together no matter what”. Yes, that is true. But let’s not forget to question certain attitudes and to have a critical eye when needed. Sometimes it’s positive that a community “improves itself and takes a look inwards to guarantee the comfort of its members”.