Throw Martin Scorsese, Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly MacDonald, period drama, gangsters, a writer from The Sopranos, Prohibition into a cauldron, stir it up, and you come out with a heaping glop of awesomeness. BOARDWALK EMPIRE premiered last night and it was such a glop; not wholly indiscernible yet completely intriguing. Never has there been such a shoe in to join the list of cable dramas like Deadwood, The Sopranos and Mad Men.
The year is 1920 and as we join the characters, Prohibition is just about to be put into place. Not that this is any concern for Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson (Steve Buscemi), Treasurer of Atlantic City and bootlegger. When we are first introduced to him he is a speaker at the Women's Tolerance League, throwing his support behind their Prohibition support with a good ole tearjerker of a tale. First rule of politics, kiddo, he informs his protege Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
There is so much to salivate over in the atmosphere alone, never mind the plot and characters: just watch Nucky puffing a cigarette on the boardwalk, and look at the billboards advertising smoking, the scenery or the costumes. Often the scenes without dialogue are just as powerful as those with. There are shocking scenes in their violence (eh'll go with the shotgun to a man's head from a foot away); and their cruelty: Margaret Shroeder's (Kelly Macdonald) children crying as they watch their mother being beaten; and the time change shock: a black woman in a maid's uniform, a boxing match between dwarves, white men in blackface.
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