Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Boardwalk Empire: 1920's Never Looked So Good

I love a good period-piece, getting a glimpse into a time and life I never got a chance to live through. Add Martin Scorsese to the background, and Steve Buscemi (best known for playing Mr.Pink in Reservoir Dogs and Tony B. on The Sopranos), and HBO’s definitely got a hit on their hands.

Buscemi plays this larger than life, high-rolling gangster. He’s a Government man and seems to have the public convinced he’s one of the good guys, although he’s got his hands in just about everything illegal in Atlantic City, from prostitution to gambling and of course, bootlegging. He’s the perfect anti-hero, a crooked wiseguy with a soft heart. And we see that sensitivity when he has a woman’s abusive husband killed. He’s obviously got a thing for her, which I’m sure will come up later.

The setting is perfect: The roaring 20s with Prohibition, post-war damage to the returning soldiers, and Womens' rights just starting to develop.  At a time when it was illegal to sell and consume alcohol. Talk about the golden age for gangsters. If there’s a demand for something and there’s no supply (because it’s outlawed in some way), it’s the perfect opportunity for gangsters to come in and do their thing. After all, that's the American Dream.
And with Scorsese’s deliberately tight, 'in your face' camera shots and freeze frames, you feel like you’re right there with them, experiencing it all.

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