After four seasons of deliberately paced, character-based storytelling, Boardwalk Empire wasn’t going to change its approach in its final truncated season. Instead of introducing new intrigues or foes, the series used much of its time to reflect on the paths that brought Nucky and the other main characters to this point and to say an extended goodbye to the people and world of the show.
I was a bit hesitant to start watching the series finale for Boardwalk Empire. I didn’t even have it in me to watch it until a few days after it aired. Why was I so hesitant? Probably for a number of reasons. A part of me wasn’t ready to say goodbye to a series I …
“Too late” was the operative phrase for Boardwalk Empire’s final hour. Too late for salvation, too late for romance, too late for redemption, and ultimately, too late for survival.
Three seasons ago Enoch “Nucky” Thompson met his former protege, Jimmy Darmody, in a dusty field and told him that he wasn’t seeking redemption. And then he shot him in the head. Twice. Things have changed.
Two of Boardwalk Empire’s most longstanding veterans waved the long goodbye tonight in one of the hardest, heaviest, and most integral episodes the series has ever delivered.
As Boardwalk Empire rounds the curve toward its curtain call, we’re given an episode that moves things along nicely while calling several characters to account for their actions.
With “Cuanto” we mark the halfway point of the final season, and its first major death. As fans of Boardwalk will attest, though, the only real surprise was that it took as long as it did. If you were running the numbers in Vegas, or Atlantic City for that matter, the odds would come up quick that there will likely be a lot more to come. If only Arnold Rothstein was still around to roll the dice on that one.
“What Jesus Said” opens with Chalky and his loose cannon partner breaking into the house of the latter’s former employer. In what is easily the low point of the episode, Chalky’s plot consists of balancing precariously between his edgy accomplice, Milton, and the a mother and daughter whom they have taken hostage. Although on paper, the idea might sound engaging, it plays out in a mostly uninspired manner due to the fact that Chalky isn’t given a whole lot to do. These scenes, which take up roughly 1/3 of the main plots explored this week, consist widely of three other characters who we are given little emotional investment in.
The Hollywood Reporter has word that Boardwalk Empire actor Jack Huston will tackle the role of Ben-Hur in the remake of the Charlton Heston classic. The remake, directed by Night Watch and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov, is set to shoot early next year and will be released on February 26th, 2016. The release is an …
There are revelations aplenty as we catch up with a few more members of the cast after the crash, and in the beginnings of the Great Depression. Gillian is seen early on under surprising circumstances; in not a prison, but a mental institution. Her initial sequence, in which she dozes comfortably in a steam bath while discussing frivolities is rapidly dissipated when one of her fellow patients loses control over a radio program, and riles up the other patients in kind.
There is an air of finality to even this first episode of Boardwalk Empire’s final season. From the opening scene to the final moments, “Golden Days for Boys & Girls” has the distinct feeling of a ticking clock. Ironically while the episode takes its sweet time, from skipping out on several of the shows most notable characters to adding in a recurring flashbacks of the childhood of the Thompsons, it only further solidifies the fact that this is the end. Like the last ruminating drink of a dying man, the simplest of things only matter more with the end in sight.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ a grand, triumphant rebuke of financial excess, and the best Scorsese-DiCaprio collaboration to date
The Wolf of Wall Street Written by Terence Winter Directed by Martin Scorsese USA, 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio is a year away from 40, though he still retains the same boyish air and enthusiasm that marked him from Titanic onward. But over the intervening 16 years, he’s thinned down enough that he has a leaner, tighter, …
Boardwalk Empire, Ep. 4.12, “Farewell Daddy Blues”: Season-long woes hamper finale’s dramatic weight
All season, Boardwalk Empire’s decision to focus on a fractured group of characters has hampered its ability to give its long-running arcs weight. The highlights, and there have been a few, have been in episodes pared down of extraneous characters, allowing the writers and performers to create specific, episode-long journeys. In “Farewell Daddy Blues”, due to the writers’ unwillingness to trim the ridiculously talented fat throughout season four, several characters’ journeys come to a less-than-compelling close and one in particular winds up his time on the show memorably, but nowhere near as emotionally as he deserves.
Much of this season, Boardwalk Empire has struggled with too many characters and disconnected storylines, leaving the overall narrative scattered. This week the show focuses in, following Chalky and Gillian while the other characters take the episode off, other than a few scenes setting up Eli and Nucky for the finale. However while this helps highlight these two characters and allows them to shine, the direction the writers choose to go with them makes the episode, and in one case, much of the season, feel absolutely wasted.
This season of Boardwalk Empire has struggled somewhat, due to its rather distracted focus on too many characters. Finally, in episode 10, one of the long-simmering arcs, the conflict between Chalky and Narcisse, comes to a boil, erupting in action and forcing Nucky and several ancillary characters to show where their loyalties lie. It’s frustrating that this is only happening now, but even so, the dramatic confrontation between Nucky and Narcisse is incredibly satisfying and the results of Narcisse’s quiet negotiations are effective. Did we need to spend several episodes lingering on Will’s struggles at college to get him, or Eli, to where we see them this week? This viewer would argue no. But the shared family moment at the end, with Nucky, Eli, and Will all ready to go to war, undeniably works.
Much of season four of Boardwalk Empire has felt disjointed. The series has a surplus of talent, with far more characters than it seems to know what to do with, and rather than cut down the cast, they’ve jumped back and forth between these characters (taking the same approach as they did in season three), often shelving characters and arcs for weeks at a time. What this inevitably leads to are peaks and valleys throughout the season, as the episodes featuring viewers’ favorite characters engage significantly more than those centered on less interesting characters (William, anyone?). This week, Boardwalk Empire focuses on Mueller/Van Alden and, given this reviewer’s enjoyment of that character and performer all season, it’s little surprise that “Marriage and Hunting” is one of the clear standouts of this season.
The brewing conflict between Chalky and Dr. Narcisse comes to a head in “The Old Ship of Zion”, forcing Daughter to make her choice in the episode’s most powerful, climactic moment. Chalky and Michael K. Williams have both been under-served this season, given very little of interest to do or play while Dr. Narcisse lurks in the background, scheming.
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4, Episode 7, “William Wilson” Written by David Matthews and Terence Winter Directed by Jeremy Podeswa Airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO Kate is new to Boardwalk Empire this season and her reviews will approach the acclaimed series from the newbie’s perspective. This week, on Boardwalk Empire: Knox gets a name, …
So far this season, being a new viewer of Boardwalk Empire has not been a hindrance. While there are undoubtedly depths to character motivations and emotional shadings that have gone unremarked upon over the past five weeks, on the whole the storylines have been fairly clear. This changes with “The North Star”, with a solid chunk of the episode dedicated to characters those of us who jumped in at season four barely know. This is the risk of jumping in mid-series, one this critic believes is worth taking, but which becomes difficult to deal with none the less.
As many viewers will no doubt be aware, Der Erlkönig is a poem by Goethe based on Danish folklore that was adapted by the great (early) Romantic composer Franz Schubert into one of his most famous lieder, or art songs. To set the mood for the discussion of by far the best episode this season, so far:
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4, Episode 4, “All In” Written by David Matthews Directed by Ed Bianchi Airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO Kate is new to Boardwalk Empire this season and her reviews will approach the acclaimed series from the newbie’s perspective. This week, on Boardwalk Empire: Nucky plays poker, Willie fails chemistry, and …
The slow build of season four continues this week, with Wright again a standout. Nucky’s excursion to Tampa is a clear step down from last week’s riveting scenes with Dr. Narcisse, that is until Patricia Arquette joins the fray as Sally, the smart and intriguing bartender who wins Nucky over on getting involved in Florida. Her few moments crackle with energy lacking from the rest of the Tampa storyline (and side note- she should always wear that particular shade of blue green. Props to the costume department!).
In last week’s season premiere, we checked in with most of our main cast, the significant exceptions being Michael Shannon’s Nelson Van Alden/George Mueller and a touted-in-the-marketing new character played by Jeffrey Wright. Both are front and center this week, along with Agent Knox and the ever intriguing Richard Harrow, and prove to be excellent additions to the ensemble.