The movie, “The Banker” was inspired by true life events, it started within the court premises as a black man faced the panel of all-white judges. Watching, you can clearly see that the black man was about to be ‘roasted’.
In a spin of flashback, the movie progressed to tell us about the protagonist, Bernard Garett where we saw how a young boy living in a while-dominated area paid attention to how the whites do their business. He spied on the whites to know the calculation, and permutations that they consider in making business moves. When confronted by his father, he said, “I was just trying to learn how they make money.” This scene hit me more when the father recognized that his son was talented but said, “ You are born the wrong colour son, Negro man can’t make money with this, the whites won’t allow him, no matter how good at it you are”. The boy replied, “Maybe not in Texas.” So, it was not surprising to see the grown Bernard in California as a young family man that is determined to make money in a way that is unconventional with the blacks. He was mocked for this by others but his wife, Eunice Garrett was rock solid to support, I couldn’t help smiling when the wife told her uncle, “My husband is a genius. You’ll see”. Meeehhhhhnnn…that’s good high-level confidence that empowers a man and in this situation, Bernard.
Apart from the wife, his wife’s cousin also displayed good faith when the cousin’s white friend, Matt asked what Bernard does for a living, the cousin paused and said “He owns buildings”. When in actual fact, Bernard was just a man with huge dreams and no physical assets in the real estate business that was whites dominated. After a period of relocation and searching for a property with a good price in California, he finally found one but that would leave them with no money for renovation. Eunice who grew up in California took her husband to an ‘Area Baddie’, Joe Morris who she believed can come on board as a co-investor. Bernard vehemently disagreed after his first meeting with Joe Morris.
As expected, Bernard faced a lot of racist challenges but he defiantly moved on not in alignment with normal but legal business customs and his gusto always paid off. He got a loan through an Irish man, Mr. Barker, a real-estate contractor that helped him to purchase his first property in a white-dominated area. In the mood of celebrating his progress as encouraged by his wife, Area-Baddie, Joe Morris showed up again and offered to invest in Bernard’s real estate business. He said “I know you’re smart and ambitious. I know you’re also angry but you don’t show it. That’s the best kind of anger. It fuels you without making you a target.” He also noted that he doesn’t trust people either white or black.
On a 50-50 agreement, Bernard Garret officially partnered with the Irish man, Mr. Barker who functioned as the needed white face of the business for buying buildings while Bernard does the behind-the-scenes work of identifying buildings to buy. The business moved quickly and they bought a good number of properties, Bernard moved his family to a new and sleekier apartment but tragedy came when Mr. Barker died in his sleep and his widow laid claims on all the properties while she offered Bernard a few dollars. She threatened to take the issue to court if Bernard refused. Bernard’s name is not on the documents’ deeds, apparently Mr. Barker as the white man was the face of the business and it was his name that was on all the business property’s deeds. Hence, Bernard had no case in court.
Just like Joe Morris predicted, Bernard’s anger was fuelled and he decided to buy the Bankers’ Building in Los Angeles a denser white-dominated area, and other properties in white-only neighborhoods. So he partnered with Area Baddie, Joe Morris who had the funds to work with. In order, to buy the Bankers’ Building, they needed to get a white name as the face of their business. Bernard chose the white guy, Matt Steiner, the cousin’s friend who now worked with him as the handyman to be the white name that will be the face of the business, while Joe Morris and Bernard Garett do the business’ calculations and permutations. The white guy, Matt Steiner agreed to join them while they teach him what he needs to know about the business such as playing golf and mathematical calculations. I had a smile on my face when Matt was obviously ready to face the business. Yes, they went on with their plans, bought the Bankers’ Building and other properties in whites-only areas. Bernard visited his hometown, Texas and he found that the same racial discrimination he experienced in his childhood was still prevalent. Hence, he was angered again to buying the Bank in Texas. Reluctantly, Joe Morris agreed to partner with him on this while Matt Steiner remained the white business owner’s face. So, they extended to being bankers, for the purpose of making loans available to blacks for business expansion and increased standard of living.
Florance, who was the son of the white previous sole owner now became a partner at the bank, he was displeased with this transition so he became suspicious of Matt and his invisible partners who he found out were blacks. Meanwhile, Matt’s wife propelled him to desire to be a partner with Bernard and Joe Morris which led to Matt’s push for the purchase of another bank in Texas called Marlin Bank. This move, Florance’s anger, and suspicions culminated to reveal the movie’s anti-climax as the nation’s bank regulatory body began raising high brows.
In the span of 3 months with Matt onboard, they got 3 banks. Obviously, Matt was not skilled enough to handle a bank on his own, so he easily played into the trap of deceit set up by Florance when he signed loan documents but didn’t bother to thoroughly check the documents before signing. This was the first loophole that begin their fall. Meanwhile, Bernard tried to save the oncoming doom by disguising himself to be a cleaner. Bernard’s character was put to test when he refused to disguise himself and said it was easy for his wife to disguise herself as a cleaner because she was a woman. Of course, his wife was not pleased with this because this meant Bernard was no better than his white racist counterparts.
The national bank regulatory body checked Marlin Bank’s books and found that their account and loan documents were not accurate. Hence, there was a deep dig into the business operations. Matt kept making one wrong business decision to another that sank the entire business, It didn’t take long to discover that two black men were the underground owners of 3 major banks in different cities and multiple properties in different whites-dominated areas in California, Texas, and Los Angeles. It ended badly for Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris. The government seized their assets, they were convicted of misappropriation of bank funds, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. After their jail terms, both men got out to enjoy the properties they managed to buy in the Bahamas through Matt Steiner.
The Banker is a well told detailed story that depicts the possibilities that could happen in the absence of racism where everyone can truly live the American dream. I love the movie for the intelligence and character values it promotes and this movie gets a “yes” from me.
I hope you enjoyed The Banker review. Please do well to drop a comment in the comment section and share the link among your contacts. Je t’aime mon ami🤗🤗