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DECADENCE WITH STYLE
on 30 December 2014
Prohibition. Gangsters. An increasingly bloody battle for supremacy. Under investigation for rigging an election, boss of the Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson is in deep trouble. From all sides he is feeling the pressure. Whom can he trust with so many keen to betray and overthrow?
Certainly not for the fainthearted, this powerful second season truly grips. It has everything. The period evocatively recreated. Twelve superbly crafted scripts. A cast that does them full justice. All deserve praise, Steve Buscemi especially. A word too for Kelly Macdonald as his companion Margaret, she ever making her presence more felt. Worthy of particular mention is Jack Huston as Richard Harrow, half his face destroyed in The Great War. Although a ruthless killer, he is movingly loyal to those who befriend him, evoking amongst viewers more sympathy than many would expect.
The box set is great. Before Episode 1, check out the helpful fourteen minute summary of the first season. Each of the five discs sports an updated character dossier. Admittedly it is a bit fiddly to negotiate, but proves a useful means of keeping track. Also included are six illuminating commentaries. A fascinating feature on the early Twenties shows how an ill-conceived new Act had effects never intended - corruption (and booze) rife at every level, mobsters never having had it so good.
As so often with HBO, impressive talents have converged to create something special.