Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]
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Boardwalk Empire is one of the most absorbing, riveting, and creepy series ever to hit American TV. Kudos to HBO for giving the creators the budget to re-create 1920s Atlantic City and to hire the amazing cast, which makes Boardwalk Empire one of the best historical crime dramas ever made. In the way that HBO's earlier series The Sopranos created a cast of not-exactly-likable-but-captivating bad guys, Boardwalk Empire paints a grim, gritty picture of Prohibition--and the shrewd, bloodthirsty opportunists who made their fortunes acquiring, and illegally selling, alcohol. Steve Buscemi has the role of a lifetime as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, the county treasurer in Atlantic City--a title that might as well be "Dictator for Life." Thompson is politically savvy enough to cultivate favor with the local League of Women Voters, but he also finds time to build, and rule, the pipeline through which illegal alcohol flows to the budding seaside resort. Buscemi's Thompson is cruel and harsh, which he needs to be to deal with the likes of Al Capone (Stephen Graham). Yet he has a soft spot and cultivates a tender, respectful relationship with a young immigrant widow (the talented Kelly Macdonald). Meanwhile, the Feds are trying to crack down on the illegal booze trade, and a hardheaded federal agent, Nelson Van Alden (played by Michael Shannon), becomes a worthy adversary for Thompson and his posse. But as talented as the cast is, the set design of Boardwalk Empire nearly steals the show. It's as though no detail is too small to re-create, and the effect is one of total immersion. And the writing by Terence Winter (The Sopranos) and guidance of executive producer Martin Scorsese also elevate Boardwalk Empire to a consistent quality virtually unparalleled on American television.
The complete first-season boxed set includes every episode, and so much more. Not to be missed are the making-of featurette, a separate documentary on the creation of the 1920s Boardwalk (on a waterfront stretch of Brooklyn, New York), a feature on the real-life seamy Atlantic City as well as of famed speakeasies in New York and Chicago, audio commentaries, and much more. Boardwalk Empire is absolutely addictive, and a cultural phenomenon to be reckoned with--and not to be missed. We'll drink to that. --A.T. Hurley
Audio Commentaries with Terry Winter, Steve Buscemi, Michael K. Williams, Tim Van Patten, Howard Korder, Brian Kirk, Allen Coulter, Michael Shannon (episodes 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12) Making Boardwalk Empire Creating the Boardwalk Atlantic City: The Original Sin City Speakeasy Tour Character Dossier --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am surprised it has taken so long for the set to come out, nonetheless, a great gift even if it doesn't arrive in time for Christmas!
Based on the true-life story of Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, this brilliant HBO series brutally kicks aside any romantic notions we might have had about the flappers'n'bathtub-gin era of American history. It's bloody, sexual, and full of cruel ruthless men who are saved from being TOTALLY despicable by little acts of kindness.
Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is the unofficial boss of Atlantic City. While officially only the state treasurer, he actually has his fingers in every business in the city -- and now that Prohibition has started, he's also the boss of the bootlegging biz in New Jersey. His creepy brother is the sheriff, so he basically controls the cops as well.
However, his "boardwalk empire" is constantly under threat. His protoge Jimmy (Michael Pitt) is involved in a whiskey robbery that ends up becoming a huge bloody mess, and soon fanatical Prohibition agent Van Allen (Michael Shannon) arrives to uncover what REALLY happened. So now Nucky must fend off the Feds, as well as dealing with a lynched black gangster, boardwalk thefts, the "Celtic Dinner," and weeks of pre-election politicking.
And while all this is going on, Nucky is forced to play hardball with Jimmy, who is now wanted by the New York mob. He also becomes acquainted with Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald), a lovely young Irish widow who appeals to Nucky in a way his sleazy showgirl mistress does not.
There are only twelve episodes of "Boardwalk Empire Season 1," and somehow that's never quite enough -- they're packed with so much blood, sex, politics, murder, booze and subterfuge that it's dizzying to watch.Read more ›
It takes a different tack than The Godfather or The Sopranos; it doesn’t focus on the gangster experience as the dark side of the struggling US immigrant dream, the outgrowth of trying to care for your family in a society that places material wealth above all. Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson is already at the top, and he’d rather stay on top through political smarts and manipulation than violence when he can. He’s not an everyman, not a family man. He’s a loner who tried to bury his humanity when his wife died, and now focuses on growing his position as the real power in Atlantic City. He’s not obsessed with honor or codes. He’s more interested in being behind the throne than the focus of the headlines. A man of immense practicality. A charming, smooth, sophisticated businessman who happens to be utterly corrupt and utterly powerful. He’s a great anti-hero for now, when the villains of society are running the corporate-political machinery, not the neigborhood.
It’s also different from it’s predecessors in that its truly an ensemble piece. Nucky may be at the center, but we get to know a huge number of fascinating and well-drawn characters in surprising depth. The series is more mosaic than character study (one of the reasons it’s not really an emotional experience).Read more ›
Boardwalk Empire presented itself to me with likeable characters (not all of them, granted), a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese and plot twists that didn't feel as forced as True Blood's (I seem to hate True Blood, but not at all, it's just not cut out for me even though it was okay). The 1920s were a different time indeed and it's nice to see how taboos of then are treated into the actual storyline. It makes me see the period in a very different light and this series knows how to pull the right strings for me. I'm anxiously waiting to finish this season and begin the second one, because there's just such an attention to details, characters, backgrounds, dialogues... This is one series I won't mind at all to watch over and over again.
As far as special features are concerned, you will find quite a load to be satisfied: A making of featurette, an enhanced viewing mode, a creation of the boardwalk, character profiles, a look at Atlantic City, a tour of speakeasies (illegal bars) and six audio commentaries... it doesn't look like much, but most of these features run over 30 minutes and truly convey interesting facts on the shooting of this series.
I didn't expect to be drawn as much as I was into this. If you're into historical dramas (Mildred Pierce is next on my list, right after Boardwalk Season 2), or have an interest in the Prohibition era, this is a show that has it all and then some (for me at least).
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent TV series with great performances. Very easy to get engaged.Published 5 months ago by Mauricio De Maria Campos
DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE TIMES. CARS AND ATTIRE VERY ACCURATE TO THE TIME. NOT SURE WE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN OTHER SEASONSPublished 15 months ago by mrsb
This is sort of a tricky one. This season, in itself, is excellent. It's well written, well made, well acted drama, with excellent production values. Read morePublished 17 months ago by KenL