Releasing today on Blu-Ray and DVD, is the latest installment, season 4, of HBO’s Emmy winning period gangster piece, Boardwalk Empire.
I was lucky enough to get a look at it ahead of time, and once again, I love how HBO has pulled out all the stops, to make it the best that it can possibly be. I think I stated in my review last year of Season 3, that the gangster genre has never been my thing. I’ve never found any of them particularly appealing, and I personally think they all need to be brought to justice, and put away once and for all.
Yet, there’s something so engaging about the writing of this series, not to mention the fact that it is interwoven with historical fact, that just draws me in. I’m very glad HBO sent me the whole thing to watch in one binge, because I wouldn’t have been able to take the wait week to week. (Honestly it’s bad enough waiting for The Newsroom!).
Steve Buscemi returns as Nucky Thompson, a mob boss who finds himself mired in all manner of trouble this year, when the FBI, led by newly appointed J. Edgar Hoover (Eric Ladin), especially when they find a weak link in his organization, and squeeze.
He’s not the only one though, Gillian (Gretchen Mol) is fighting to kick her habit, get her son back, and perhaps fall in love with a new man this season, Roy Phillips (Ron Livingston).
Fan favorite, including mine, Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), has a fantastic arc this season, and I simply love how his story this year plays out. Brilliant!
Nucky is looking to expand this year, and he’s got his eye on Florida, where he meets Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette), a woman unlike any other he has met before. But not everything is going to go smoothly between the Everglades and the Boardwalk…
Another interesting introduction this year, is a new location, The Onyx Club, run by Chalky (Michael K. Williams), with Nucky as a silent partner, but there’s a new game in town, run by Doctor Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright – who I love to see in anything, and this one he simply sinks his teeth into). The introduction of the Onyx Club also brings with it my favorite part of the new season, the music! Jazz is starting to show up, and I love the sound of it!
Al Capone (Stephen Graham) is beginning his rise, and he’s slowly incorporating Alden (Michael Shannon) into his organization. And he quickly proves his mettle.
There is so much going on this year, and while we don’t get to spend time with each character in each episode, it’s doled out just right.
HBO continues to craft their collections just right, of course the Blu-Ray set comes with a digital copy to download to portable devices, but the one thing I found beneficial coming into the series last year, and something that continues to help out just as a point of reference, is the Boardwalk Chronicle, an interactive feature that lets you know who is in the scene, their connections to others, where the action is set, and how this all plays out historically, as there is a lot of fact interwoven into these stories. And I think for me, that’s what keeps me coming back, that yes, there is fictionalized occurrences fleshing out the history, but the history is there as well.
There’s a nice interview with Jack Huston, a Q&A with the creators, featurettes, audio commentaries… everything we’ve come to expect from a HBO release, and to date, for me, they have never failed.
This is a great collection, and if you missed it when it aired (as I did), there’s no better way to watch than binge your way through, and then hit all the extras.
Boardwalk Empire: Season 4, is available today on DVD and Blu-Ray from HBO! Go get it!