Monday, January 30, 2012

HBO's Luck ~ Pilot Episode

From the opening credits song "Splitting The Atom" by Massive Attack, to the final moments of the last scene in the pilot episode, HBO's Luck goes the distance.

Luck stars Dustin Hoffman [who is also one of the show's producers] as Chester 'Ace' Bernstein; a 'G' who did a 3 year bid at Victorville to cover his associates asses. Now he's out, showing signs of possible onset of Alzheimer's. His limo driver Gus 'the Greek' Demitriou [Dennis Farina] is fronting for him as the owner of a promising thoroughbred. [As a convicted felon Ace cannot legally own the horse].

Nick Nolte as Mr.Walter 'the old man' Smith is heartbreaking as a trainer who knows equines like he knows the back of his hand, but has seen too much and is holding a secret about a past scandal. Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, John Ortiz, Tom Payne, Jill Hennessy, Kevin Dunn, Ian Hart, Richie Coster, Kerry Condon, and retired real life jockey Gary Stevens round out an outstanding cast.

Not surprisingly Hoffman effortlessly commands every scene he embodies while simultaneously being generous to his co-stars. The delivery of the dialog is so natural, particularly the moments with Farina and guest star Alan Rosenberg, it's difficult to discern whether or not some of the scenes are improvised in part or in whole. No matter. It truly is a pleasure to watch every frame whichever the case.

Retired real-life jockey Stevens turns in a stellar performance. It has long been my contention that athletes more than hold their own when in the acting arena and in Luck, Gary Stevens does nothing to HBO Luck sway me from that belief.

The show's camera work of the racing scenes is excellent. Slightly less gritty than the real thing [jockey's silks are as pristine at the end of the race as they are straight out of the gate] but the positioning of the horses and the point of view from the rider's perspective gives just the right flavor.

Don't want to spoil with specifics for those who haven't seen the pilot ep, but there is a scene that shows the hard side of what occurs when a horse is injured.

If you're not a railbird or don't know a bug from a tout, no worries---HBO has a glossary to get you up to speed on the vernacular of the racetrack.

Luck airs Sundays at 9:00pm on HBO with multiple repeats during the week. Please check your local listings. And for HBO subscribers on the go who don't want to miss their favorite HBO shows check out HBOGO

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