Boardwalk Empire, Season 1 (USA, 2010)

Boardwalk-Empire-Season-1-COVER-DVDCreated by: Terence Winter. It seems like inscrutable, morally ambiguous protagonists are the order of the day. I guess that’s old news: Tony Soprano, Don Draper, Walter White, yeah okay. When I had made it through the first two episodes, I wasn’t particularly impressed. It seemed like it was just taking all of the well-proven ingredients and mashing them together—Sopranos mafia stuff but in a period piece somewhere between Deadwood and Mad Men. Done: watch the money and praise roll in. And besides that, I kind of hated the opening sequence with that stupid Brian Jonestown Massacre song. But as I continued through, all of it really grew on me, even the theme song. What seemed kind of flat was that the main character, the instantly likable and intriguing Steve Buscemi as Nucky, was almost too ambiguous. He just wasn’t really all that striking. He’s not as violent as Tony Soprano, he’s not as obviously psychotic as Walter White, he’s not as dark and brooding as Don Draper. And yet, there really is something about Nucky Thompson—there’s something about all of those core characters: the amazing Kelly MacDonald as Mrs. Schroeder and William Pitt as Jimmy Darmody (not to mention my favourite supporting guy Stephen Graham as Al Capone) all contribute to this deceptively complex and layered dramatis personae that populate this fantasy-history of Prohibition-era Atlantic City. There may still be some mystery as to why it’s compelling at all—and I’m sure some people would respond negatively to the take-it-or-leave-it component of its appeal—but I think i’ll take it.

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2 responses to “Boardwalk Empire, Season 1 (USA, 2010)

  1. Pingback: Man of Steel (USA/UK, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Pawn Sacrifice (USA, 2016) | Offhand Reviews·

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