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"Boardwalk Empire" More at IMDbPro »

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154 out of 218 people found the following review useful:

Simply ... WOW!

Author: 851222 from Lithuania
22 September 2010

Greetings from Lithuania.

What a wonderful pilot!

First i read some reviews before watching pilot, and they where saying how "boooring" this episode was. Hell no! That was one of the best pilots in a ... ever! When you have screenwriter of "Sopranos" and Mr. M.Scorsese in a director chair - nothing can go wrong! A pilot of "Boardwalk Empire" reminded my of "Goodfellas", "Sopranos" (i read that behind this show is a writer of "Sopranos" after watching pilot) and ... "Departed" - it's was THAT good.

If this show will live up to the pilot - we have a new Emmy winner in all possible categories.

Watch it and don't wary about negative reviews - this is a really great show.

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112 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

Buscemi should get an Emmy.

Author: Aaron Vanman ( from USA
16 October 2010

This show is loaded with excellent acting and writing!!!!! It's worth watching every minute and shot. Steve Buscemi definitely deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of "Nucky." I haven't enjoyed a show from HBO this much since "Deadwood." The characters are well layered and the dialogue is fantastic. The supporting cast is immensely talented and the scenery is simply gorgeous. Michael Pitt is a pleasure to watch in his, complex role of the war hero gone bad. I hope this show lasts a lot longer than "Deadwood" did and makes household names out of its cast. I'll keep my HBO subscription forever if more shows like these are on the horizon.

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84 out of 103 people found the following review useful:

My 347th Review: ...this is as good as TV gets....

Author: intelearts from the big screen
4 November 2010

With production values that are mind-boggling, cast, and a budget to die for HBO is now what film studios were in the 1930s, they have the clout and the ability to go way further than most films can - and you get episode after episode.

the detailing is beyond accurate and lavish - every stitch, every furnishing, every telegraph wire looks and feels authentic and it is all shot and lit to the highest standards of film not TV.

The story of prohibition and Atlantic City is fully detailed, complex, with Steve Buscemi heading up a great cast. I have a gripe that the F-word was not ubiquitous at the time and strikes a jarring note in an otherwise near perfect production.

Where this shines is in the details - I just hope the story lines and acting live up to the promise - they certainly have so far.

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80 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

The best show on small screen since the last best show on HBO

Author: seandalaya from United States
15 November 2010

The show doesn't need any introduction and neither does the cast. It encompasses a generation where the political landscape is much the same as today but it is laced with more violence, sexism and corruption and in the midst is a thriving business of illegal alcohol.

A new standard is set with the storytelling, cinematography, elaborate sets on the shores of Brooklyn, carefully chosen custom tailored clothes and costumes that match the opulent lifestyles of the characters. The occasional inserts of magazines, books, manuals; all in their original form, which not only gives originality (to the show) for the era that is being depicted but also takes you back in time into the deeply woven lives of characters like Mrs Schroeder, Nucky, Eli, Nelson and my personal favorite character Mr. Kessler.

A barrage of other prominent real life characters like Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Liciano, Al Capone, (Jimmy Darmody?), Johnny Torrio, Senators, Congressmen, President and VP contenders make the show complete and give it a political as well as a mob dimension.

Much of what is in the show is based on true events and a cursory search on Wikipedia on some of the famous characters validates it. This is what makes this brilliant show dark just like it's setting - theme song with clouds over Atlantic city.

One of the less talked about part of the show perhaps are the melodious songs that the producers/writers have decided for the background score. The songs fill up the environment with melancholy just like much of the show and leaves us eagerly waiting for the next episode.

Any less than ten stars for the show would only reflect lack of fine taste.

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99 out of 144 people found the following review useful:

Best Pilot I've Ever Seen! A New Milestone for TV?

Author: Ali_Mandi from Bahrain
23 September 2010

A couple of days a go, I saw the pilot of Boardwalk Empire, directed by Maestro Martin Scorsese and written by Terence Winter, one of the main writers of the Sopranos. This is by far the best pilot I've ever seen. Impeccably directed; pure Scorsese, brilliantly written, perfectly casted, amazingly acted and just visually stunning! The look Mr. Scorsese established for the show is a joy to watch and hopefully the other directors will be able to emulate it, but I guess since we have Tim Van Patten, Allen Coulter and Alan Taylor directing most of the episodes, we're safe! From the first episode, Boardwalk Empire shows a great promise. It's about time Steve Buscemi got a leading role, a fine actor and a show stealer, and he's nothing short of great here, with a great supporting show to carry the show with him.

If the show continues like the pilot, and keeps using great soundtracks like the ones Mr. Scorsese used for the pilot. Then we have a third show to join the Sopranos and the Wire. And the fact that HBO renewed the show for a second season two days after it's premiere says something.

Will be watching.

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79 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Series!

Author: Big Wheel from Canada
4 October 2010

This is a fantastic series; its the kind of outstanding, must-see programming that drives new subscribers to HBO. The series has superb production values and masterful direction by Scorsese. The acting is first-rate all around, especially the portrayal of Rothstein.

Nucky's girlfriend (played by Paz de la Heurta) spices the show up with wonderful flashes of her beautiful nude body. The dressing room scene in episode #3 where she strips naked is magnificent to behold! The lady is a work of art...

There is also a subtle complexity to the character of Nucky. He is not just a "bad" villain; a simple,one-dimensional caricature. Instead, he shows loving emotions, such as his desire to have children and his attraction to the good-hearted, honest immigrant girl. (who on the surface appears to be his antithesis) He doesn't just commit crimes or violence for enjoyment of evil, but its often part of a Machiavellian purpose.He doesn't just take from the community, but he gives back as well. Perhaps he is the benevolent dictator or Philosopher King that Plato imagined. In many cases he redistributes wealth to those who need it most. Even if he is primarily doing it to serve his own interests, he is providing a critical function and service to the community and time in which he lives.

The series also makes stinging criticisms of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and how powerful political and economic interests often manipulate naive, well-intentioned fools. Even today, soft drugs like marijuana are illegal, while far more addictive and socially harmful products (such as tobacco and alcohol) are legal. Marijuanna has been kept illegal because the powerful alcohol and tobacco lobby groups don't want competition to cut into their profits. But dumb people still believe the politicians who outlaw soft drugs like this are doing it to "protect" society.

In any case, this series is highly entertaining and will help people to understand the futility of prohibition policies and start to think about the real political and economic interests that are operating behind the scenes. The show is fun and addictive. (hopefully the government won't outlaw it) Watch it; you'll be glad you did.

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58 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

One of the best series on Hbo

Author: Jake lawless from United States
20 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I watched this it kept me to the edge of my seat waiting to know what will happen next and when. The music with the movie is just like drinking a beer and feeling your first buzz It plays at the right time. The historically reality is just stunning, The silent movies the comedy play mixed with the raids from the feds. It shows how many people were actually poor in certain types of town with low pay. How men who drink beat their wives I did not enjoy watching that though that got me kind of mad at the guy and wanted to see him dead in the show because he killed a unborn child buy beating the mother of it,and Martin Scorsese roll in it. A big $50 million just for the pilot their investing a lot into this show. I enjoyed all the way through even the credits.One of the best pilots I have ever seen.

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52 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant crime story filled with flare, emotion, and memorable characters.

Author: wwe7961 from United States
6 December 2010

I am not a big TV lover. Mostly I watch South Park, but this show has gotten me interested in more live-action shows. It tells its stories with the same quality as a normal theater film for each episode making it feel like a massive crime drama experience. I have been waiting for a while now to review it, and now that the first season is over I can make my honest opinion clear. I live on a barrier island in New Jersey named Long Beach Island. It is about an hour drive away from Atlantic City so as you can guess I've been there a few times. My favorite part about Atlantic City is the boardwalk. Since this show is named Boardwalk Empire it should do a good job at showing what it looked like back in the 20's. Simply put it captures the 20's perfectly. The show is directed so well I felt like I was transported back to those days. They also capture the feel of the 20's in other ways by showing historic events such as the World Series scam. In the end though it best captures the spirit of the 20's on the boardwalk. As for the plot it is set in the 1920's. Prohabition has begun starting a whole decade of illegal alcohol smuggling. The Treasurer of Atlantic City Nucky Thompson is starting a smuggling business that results in some bloody consequences. Along the way he meets a woman named Mrs. Schroeder, deals with an oncoming election, and more. It is a very well told story. It manages to tell several different stories throughout the show, but none of them feel underdone. They all are extremely well put together story lines. You have the main alcohol smuggling story, the story of Nucky and Margaret, the story of Jimmy, the story of Capone, the story of Lucky, the story of Eli Thompson, the story of Agent Nelson Van Alden, and many more. All these different stories keep things fresh. The emotions that are shown in the episodes are powerful. As the episodes go on emotions get stronger like layers of an onion. Something that is also present in this show is flare. Every gangster flick needs that style to it. It needs to have that gangster feel. While this show doesn't have a lot of that when it happens it is really cool. Now I end this review on the acting. Everybody does a swell job. Buscemi is great as usual, and everyone else is great. The person who I'm most interested in is Michael Pitt who is a relatively unknown actor, but here is great and I would like to see him other things. He could make it real big. Overall I love this show. I will be a viewer of the next season for sure.

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44 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

TV's best drama that's compelling and informative it shows the early days of America's Playground as it ran with politics, corruption, greed and power struggle!

Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
9 November 2010

HBO has once again done it, they are simply the best at putting out provocative, and compelling interesting original series and this time period piece drama "Boardwalk Empire" is clearly a big knockout winner. It's filled with enough drama, intrigue, suspense and complex emotions to make a viewer hooked and addicted to me it's like an early version of "The Sopranos" as producer and creator Terence Winter does a crafty and great job with this new work just the way he did when he wrote for "The Sopranos".

As long before the days of slot machines, Donald Trump, Chinese massage places, street walking hookers, and rundown buildings this period piece shows the real and early days of Atlantic City. Set in 1920's Atlantic City, NJ when Prohibition has just gone into effect this series shows how the city's kings became outlaws. Dealing with the real life Nucky Johnson, yet the series changes the name to Nucky Thompson(played brilliant by veteran Steve Buscemi)who is A.C.'s treasurer and as with any central character Nucky is a complex man. He's a good politician standing for what he believes in, still he's quickly amoral by doing favors and bribes overseeing criminal enterprises and money from booze that's imported with the help of his brother the sheriff. Still Nucky has a soft heart for people in need especially for that of a local lady Margaret Schroeder(played wonderful by Kelly MacDonald)who captures Nucky's fancy with her loving care, a big difference from the hot steamy passion that Nucky has with hot spirited flame Lucy(Paz De la Huerta).

Aside from that a good supporting turn for the series and Nucky is that of hot young buck sidekick and want to be leader Jimmy Darmody(Michael Pitt)who's an aggressive loose cannon kick butt kind of guy. As he skates in the business of battling rivals while trying to impress Nucky with scores and he even brushes in business for Nucky in Chicago and New York as this series even shows the early start of legends Al Capone and Lucky Luciano. As Jimmy's the great wild card of the series a hot headed war war I vet who couldn't be tamed at home by his sexy wife Angela(Aleksa Palladino)as this boy is just a little complex from having a showgirl for a mom Gillian(Gretchen Mol).

And with any early mob drama it's only fitting to have a good guy trying to sort out the mess and bring corruption down well enter federal agent Nelson Van Alden(played with toughness and zeal from Michael Shannon)an intense by the book lawman who's determined as it's always interesting to watch him follow Nucky's dealings and travels.

Overall this now is the best show on TV and only the best in the business HBO could have done it. "Boardwalk Empire" shows the roaring twenties as vibrant and classic meanwhile the life of this place is a violent underworld that had to be in a time of social prosperity and progress that was upstaged by corruption and booze debauchery in the Prohibition era. It's such a historical drama that it's educational really as it shows with it's central character Nucky Thompson life is complex and always temptation will override playing by the book as easy money is the way to live, still when dealing with money, booze, and sex it's tough and violent. Still "Boardwalk Empire" does all of this in such a classic way that's exciting and exhilarating as it's dazzling make it a must see for yourself and toast up and drink up to this it should last a little bit.

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29 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Damn Good Start

Author: down-emily from Romania
22 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Boasting only a pilot episode (for now), Boardwalk Empire proved to be highly entertaining, at least for me. I never once thought it was slow, although if I recall correctly, the premiere lasted for more than an hour, and I didn't think it was overstuffed or overly dramatic, as many have taken the time to notice. Well, okay, maybe it was a little high-strung towards the end, but it managed to restrain itself nicely on that account. I mean, it could've been much worse.

But that's not the kind of sentence I'd like to employ with this series. I can tell this is going to be a good one. Not because we have as backdrop the fiery, blood-fuelled mob wars between two powerful cities, or the facetious, slippery trade of liquor during the Prohibition era.

While all these are very interesting to watch in their own respect, especially the accurate depiction of the violence and crimes of the time, what I like best about this show, so far anyways, are the characters.

I am not saying the plot isn't fairly fascinating itself, but I am more drawn to the protagonist, rather than the actual story. Nucky Thompson is fascinating to watch simply because he is a lonely man with too many people around him. He is like an island (cleverly depicted in the opening theme), standing in the midst of a raging era. He is a strong man with a strong head, but when it comes to his heart, well - he tends to show a much more vulnerable side. He looks like a cold bastard and acts like a pragmatic, self-complacent, crafty and almost cruel business man. At the same time, however, he's a warm fellow, with a heart made of tiny sheets of gold, that likes to protect all things pristine and innocent in the world. He is almost too aware of the fact that he can't accomplish that. He knows that his principles, while set in stone, are morally wrong and that he can't do his job and also do what he thinks is right. He can't be half a gangster, as Jimmy tells him. So he compromises and tries doing both, with somewhat peculiar consequences. Here is man who can seem completely accustomed to the world he lives in, while, simultaneously, finding a hard time adjusting to it.

When Steve Buscemi's character (who, by the way, was perfectly cast in my opinion - opinion which is not shared by many apparently) gives his touching, over-the-top, speech at the beginning of the episode, narrating how he procured some rats as dinner for his family on a cold winter night, we know it's a ruse and we as audience can already guess he is using it as a ploy to earn the trust and admiration of the ladies gathered there. And yet, we kind of hope and believe that part of his story is true. And that, although he lied about it, in his heart, he would actually do that. And that, a bit of that little boy resembles this grown weary man. You almost start thinking, towards the end of the episode, that maybe he wasn't lying to them at all,that maybe he was actually telling a real story. And that's when the character becomes fascinating to watch.

And Nucky isn't the only character to watch. There are many well-rounded characters here that surprised me in many good ways. I never expected this much depth from these supporting characters. At least at first, Jimmy's character did not seem so complex to me. It's only when the story progresses, that we do see how twisted the little fellow really is.

Same goes for Arnold Rothstein's character, played by the grossly underrated Michael Stuhlbarg, as a cool, stoic mobster with a charming and affable personality. His poised elegance appears almost sinister at times. Especially after his gambling success, when he explains to Nucky how in actuality, he's the one who owes him money. Another good one for me is Margaret's character, the abused Irish wife that Nucky takes a peculiar interest in. Her quiet innocence and deliberate, unaffected candour make for a refreshing change from the sensual femme fatale of the jazz era, portrayed by Nucky's girlfriend. Many critics complained that she is a stale stereotype of the victimised woman portrayed as a saint, as opposed to the promiscuous vain, self-absorbed tart. So this would be the reason why Nucky's interested in her. But I disagree, she brings a lot more to the screen than a stereotype of an abused wife. Yes, she is placed there to show a contrast between different women at the time, but she has something of her own, her expressions, her mannerisms, her actions that speak louder than her role and position in society. For me at least, she was riveting to watch.

The weak characters of the show (like Van Alden, Lucy or Lucky Luciano) I suppose have not yet been developed after only one episode and I look forward to seeing more of them.

However, all in all, the cast is a delight to watch. And for me, the characters make this show better than it actually is. The plot is elegantly handled (I speak as an amateur of this particular genre) and it swerves and turns enough times to distract us from any loose ends, making sure we focus on some key moments of the story, but the characters really do bring out the best of it, for me at least.

I give it a nine, because I have a feeling this show will grow into something worthwhile.

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