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BOARDWALK EMPIRE “21? Review

BOARDWALK EMPIRE “21? Season 2 Episode 1 – Tim Van Patten, one of television’s finest directors, took the helm of the second season’s opener and he directed a whole slew of high calibre actors to top notch performances in what is one of television’s slickest shows. Unfortunately, being a slick show does not make you a cool show, or even a good show. Last year Boardwalk Empire frustrated me: somewhere under the surface there roamed a great show which was so tightly wound it hardly had the chance to breathe. I was hoping that with the second season, the actors and writers would have gotten into a groove, seen the mistakes they made last year, and build up on the excellent twists the finale offered to make a season with even more intrigue, more suspense and way less banality.

Unfortunately, this first episode doesn’t offer a lot of hope for less banality. It’s a perplexing quandary: I mean, this is an episode which, in one of its opening scenes, featured Michael Kenneth William’s Chalky White’s illicit booze shed getting Swiss cheesed by a group from the Klu Klux Klan. You’d expect a plot which started like this, and turned into Nucky playing both the blacks and the whites for fools to his own benefit, would be awesome. But there’s just nothing to care about, and I think it all has to come down to Steve Buscemi’s performance. Buscemi is a great actor. He’s a guy who will swipe a movie right out from under your feet in an amazing supporting role. But here, as the charming, suave, cunning lead gangster/politician, he’s seriously miscast. His role is meant to be a center of gravity, like the midst of a whirlpool around which all things swirl in pandemonium. But Buscemi lacks the gravitas and presence to lead such a production. Looking at the likes of Michael Pitt or Michael Shannon, it’s impossible to believe that Nucky as played by Buscemi would cause either of these guys’ concern. Read More...

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