Martin Scorsese and Sopranos screenwriter and producer Terence Winter both return once again to their crime genre beginnings and to further bank off the New Jersey TV trend, exposing it’s Guido and Guiette roots in HBO’s highly anticipated Boardwalk Empire. Only even with an Emmy Award writer this script isn’t half as exciting or entertaining as Jersey Shores’ GTL, fist pumping, and Situation commentaries.
Cued from the start with the dullest opening theme in HBO history of lapping waves, Atlantic City looks like a sound stage, even more so then Gangs of New York and dirty Cameron. Cast with a bunch of clean, stiff suited townies following their leader/treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who’s keeping everyone’s mouth wet and taking cuts from every casino and taffy shoppe. His scrawny, corpselike appearance is hardly as intimidating as James Gandolfini despite the matching snaggle tooth, but even so, he’s got a a peanut gallery all laughing on cue and speaking in turn. It’s only his chauffeur Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), a Leo DiCaprio wannabe, who feels he’s entitled to something more leading him to team up with Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and ambush the next booze delivery. Agent Michael Shannon stalks Buscemi, playing his mumbling crazy self while struggling Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) shows Buscemi in a more humane light as she distracts him from his dead wife. Anyway, I wouldn’t trust any of these cats just as I wouldn’t trust a plank on this soot-free polished set. This spic and span cast is sleazier than Jersey Shore’s coked out Ronnie. By now we all know, no matter how close to “action” T-shirt time is there’s no way these boardwalk drunks, sequins and feathers, and sharp suits wearing shimmy shakers could look so flat and bland when it’s supposed to be the Jazz Age. The rise and fall of the gangster during prohibition has been a subject of numerous movies such as The Untouchables and the classic Once Upon A Time In America but this new HBO addition don’t seem to reveal very much besides showing that Scorsese is bone dry of ideas.