Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: TV Review: Luck: Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

Monday, January 30, 2012

TV Review: Luck: Season 1, Episode 1, "Pilot"

by Tony Dayoub

Ace: Generally, how'd he look?
Gus: What do I know, Ace? All four of his legs reach the ground.
That exchange, between two of the leads on the new HBO series Luck, concerns Pint of Plain, the race horse that Chester "Ace" Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) owns by way of his driver and bodyguard Gus Demetriou (Dennis Farina). Gus is fronting for Ace, who's recently been released from prison and can't legally own a horse until he's off parole. But he knows as much about horse racing as most viewers probably do—which is to say, not much. Those expecting to get a primer on the sport will be disappointed by Luck's first episode, written by creator David Milch (Deadwood) and directed by his co-executive producer, Michael Mann. But that's not a criticism; what Milch and Mann have always been most effective at is getting to the substance of a specific subculture through stylistic means.



Aden Jordan said...

You seem so erudite and passionate about all Mann-related matters that I sincerely think you'd be able to write a fine book on Mr. Mann's body of work.

I really enjoyed the cast, writing, and general artistry of the pilot, and the multiple character structure nicely recalled other dramas including 'The Wire' where the viewer is so directly dropped into these peoples' lives and has to do some work in putting the pieces together.

One surprising quality was there was no outright criminal violence (it is a Mann production after all). I hope the show can go a while without much bloodshed and can instead continue to develop the characters instead of trying to mimic 'Boardwalk Empire' or 'The Sopranos' (which is a fear of mine since it is HBO).

Tony Dayoub said...

Aden, I appreciate your recognition of my passion for Mann's films. He's probably my favorite director right now.

I have a feeling you're right. This show should be less bloody than the others you mentioned. David Milch is a scruffy kind of optimist and a good yin to Mann's yang.