HBO’s Boardwalk Empire Premiere Episode – A Review

by on September 19, 2010

in Entertainment

Boardwalk Empire on HBO

HBO’s Boardwalk Empire stars Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Stephen Graham, et al. It’s directed by Timothy Van Patten (The Pacific, The Sopranos) & Allen Coulter (The Sopranos). It’s written by Nelson Johnson and Terence Winter (The Sopranos).

It opens to an ambush of liquor runners (bootleggers) and then we segue to 3 days earlier where county treasurer Enock “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is quickly introduced to the viewer as he touches on how prohibition has just been passed.

We then watch as political wrangling and insider plans are made for the pure profitability from what prohibition can do for those in power, much like Thompson, who uses his political edge to make the most of the new laws.

We see Jimmy Darmondy’s life at home, played by Michael Pitt, and being a war hero isn’t paying the bills. We take note how Thompson believes that one must never let the truth get in the way of a good story and there is one moment where he seems to have a soft spot as he looks in on a baby infirmary and he seems to reflect on something deep.

The premiere episode continued into various chapters and characters in such a way that the flow felt natural and not forced. We have a lot to be introduced to and it is done well. No wonder, with the experience of the writers from The Sopranos and the director from The Pacific behind the scenes, those guys had to pull together story lines from multiple story lines and that was done well. Very well.

The show is along the lines of Sons of Anarchy where the heroes of the story aren’t good, they’re anti-heroes and yet you will be finding yourself pulling for them. Especially as Buscemi shows a subtle, underlying soft side. Though his empathetic side does get people beat with brass knuckles and dumped in the ocean… but that’s at least a satisfying end to that one characters short story arc.

Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire

For me, Steve Buscemi can do no wrong with any role he’s played. He brings depth to any project he’s in, even in small roles, so I may start this out being a bit biased. With Martin Scorsese in the producers seat, it’s a fascinating angle to the production that almost makes one expect more. While he may have 116 movies under his belt, he hasn’t really crossed paths with the TV audience until now, in Boardwalk Empire.

As with any new show, I found this to what I would have called a wonderful era piece movie. It had that kind of feel. It was engaging. It could be brilliant. For now, I am hooked to see how things pan out in the next few subsequent episodes, but to be honest, I have no doubt that this show will develop and grow into an award winning series. Another HBO award winning series.

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