Boardwalk entered its fourth season off the back of a superb third series as one of the most consistently entertaining shows around at the moment. Things were going to be different this time round though with Nucky (Steve Buscemi) and Margaret Schroeder’s (Kelly Macdoanld) relationship a thing of the past and his tyrannical reign of the criminal underworld not as secure as it once was.
Nucky’s storyline is no longer the main attraction come this fourth series and the stand-out plot this time round comes with the arrival of Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) causing Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) numerous problems. Also Al Capone (Stephen Graham) continues his usual bully tactics this time becoming involved with Michael Shannon’s Nelson Van Alden character who seems a lot less crazy than he has in previous seasons. Season four saw the usual slow burn and tension building that we’ve come to expect of the show, with impending explosions constantly bubbling just below the surface ready to blow by the final few episodes and it doesn’t disappoint. In this series despite Nucky perhaps not being as central a character as he originally was his empire is under more threat than it has ever been and although the character will never show it it’s clear that soon things will come crumbling down around him. The strongest point as always with Boardwalk is its writing and that’s no different in season four but there is not a single element of the show that isn’t done superbly well.
It’s pleasing that a programme of this cost and intelligence can manage to keep going in a climate of television where studios want to make cheap, accessible shows but Boardwalk is one of a small flurry of shows marking a revolution that exemplifies how the format can be the best way to tell great stories. With Breaking Bad over it’s time Boardwalk deserves a place as the best running TV show on our screens and in my opinion, it is.
Yes, I know, I have slipped behind on my weekly update yet again. I could claim it was because I was spending some time staring at the date on the calender, because, let’s face it, it doesn’t get much better than seeing the same number next to each other three times! I could also claim that I’ve been very busy working seeing as it’s the last week of uni. But both of these statements would be a complete and the real reason for me not getting round to this is because I just haven’t been bothered, but now I can be so let’s get into it.
First of was my review of the new Ben Wheatley black somedy, Sightseers, a strong contender for my favourite film of the year. But then there was the entirely different entity that was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which was also fantastic so has left in a predicament as to what the hell actually is the best movie of the year. And in between watching those I finished Boardwalk Empire – Season 3 so if you’re a fan of the show give that post a read and let me know your views on it.
So while I struggle with what my favourite film of 2012 is I thought I’d leave you this week with what may well turn out to be my favourite of next year – here’s the trailer for Django Unchained:
***Spoiler Alert – If you’re yet to finish season three it may be best to save reading this post till you have***
Following on from massive finale of season two this time we properly hit the ground running. The introduction of new villain Gyp Rossetti, played by Bobby Cannavale, gives even the first few episodes flourishes of brutal violence something that in the two previous seasons took a lot longer in between outbursts. I found a shame that Rossetti turned out to be only a season-long obstacle in Nucky’s path as it did feel as though he could have really fucked some shit up, despite this his final scene is one of the shows best moments yet.
With Rossetti leading the way all the consistent characters head even further in psychopathic madness. Nucky, yet again portrayed marvellously by Steve Buscemi, continues on his journey of becoming more and more ruthless and cold. Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) also reaches new levels of insanity, which is hard to believe considering how much of nut job he already was. And Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) commits some horrific acts while facing the grief of her son’s death. It really speaks to the shows quality that these characters can all spiral out of control but everything in the story remains so tight, it was obviously planned from the beginning that this is the kind of direction they would all go in, you’d be hard done by to find a single character that hasn’t got at least one screw loose.
The ending of season three couldn’t have been different from that of it’s predecessor, though. Rather than leaving us on a massive cliffhanger things here seemed rather well tied-up, they clearly must have some ideas of how things are going to get out of hand again in season four. But overall, season three ups the ante to a whole new level bringing a lot more craziness than the two before it, if the show keeps going in this direction by the time it reaches its end things are literally going to get insane.
Based in the Prohibition-era and set in Atlantic City Boardwalk Empire follows the exploits of Nucky Thompson the undisputed owner of the city, no business can happen without his knowledge. Partially based on facts the show seamlessly adds its own elements of fiction which you’d be hard done by to point out without any prior knowledge of the era. Created by Terence Winter (one of the main writers on The Sopranos) and produced by Martin Scorsese this show is the perfect blend of gripping gangster drama and superbly explored character development. There are at least six main characters for which we know a huge amount of back story and this element adds to the shows richness as a whole. It’s not trying to hard to grab your attention, some episodes you can go for the whole hour without so much as a punch in the face whereas others are full to the brim with mass murder and violent brawling. The show picks its own pace, it does what it wants and it rewards your patience. The finale of season two was one of the most gripping sixty minutes of television I have ever watched and the end sets up a whole new direction for the main character to take in season three. This is a show that will be long remembered after it ends, it is almost utterly flawless so, basically, get watching it.