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Boardwalk Empire Season 3
BLU-RAY disk
Aug 21, 2013 By: Chris Bumbray
Boardwalk Empire Season 3 order download
Director:
Various

Actors:
Steve Buscemi
Kelly Macdonald
Shea Whigham
Jack Huston
Gretchen Mol
Bobby Cannavale
Michael Shannon

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Fresh from a battle that saw both Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi) protégé Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and brother, Eli (Shea Wigham) turn on him; Nucky seems eager scale down his bootlegging in favor of going relatively straight. This doesn’t sit well with one of his former partners, Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), a sadistic, psychopathic gangster who declares war on Nucky by muscling in on his action. Soon, Nucky finds himself plunged into an all-out gangland war over Atlantic City.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
For my money, BOARDWALK EMPIRE’s third season is its best so far. Even if seasons one and two were practically perfect, the third season introduces a menace in the form of Cannavale’s insane Gyp Rosetti that makes the violent gangster world of bootlegging even fiercer. While the first half of the season is, shall we say, deliberately paced (not unusual for this show), the second half is like an old Warner Bros. gangster movie, done on an epic scale, with tommy-gun fights, brutal double crosses, and Machiavellian scheming by Nucky- who finds himself backed into a corner like never before- that makes this riveting.

As usual, Buscemi is superb as Nucky, with a new love interest in the guise of a flapper who competes with Margaret (Kelly McDonald) for Nucky’s affections, not that Margaret really cares anyway, with Nucky’s dashing Irish associate, Slater (Charlie Cox) hanging around. Cannavale, who copped a well-deserved Emmy nomination, makes for the best baddie the show ever had, with his depravity seemingly knowing no bounds (in the first scene of the season, Gyp murders a motorist who helps with his car, AND the steals his dog).

As always, my favorite character on BOARDWALK is Jack Huston’s Richard Harrow. This season, Harrow’s story becomes especially tragic, with him trying to shelter the now-deceased Jimmy’s young son from the violent world around him. This isn’t easy considering that they both live in Jimmy’s mother’s (Gretchen Moll) whorehouse, which is frequently populated by all the gangsters on the east coast. Harrow’s story becomes especially gripping in the last few episodes, with a shootout involving him being expertly choreographed, and scored by a barely audible scratchy record playing in the background. It’s like John Woo, meets Martin Scorsese, meets Stanley Kubrick. It’s an amazing set-piece.

My only real issue with season three is that one of my other favorite characters, Michael Shannon’s Van Alden, is sidelined pretty badly. Now that he’s on the run, he’s lost importance, and is peripheral to the story (although he gets one great scene with an iron). Hopefully they’ll find something more for him to do next season.

THE EXTRAS
As usual for HBO’s Blu-ray releases, BOARDWALK EMPIRE season three is loaded to the brim with extras. There’s audio commentary on six episodes, along with an interactive feature that works on all the episodes called Boardwalk Chronicles which is especially good for history buffs. Those folks with also enjoy the hour worth of Newsreel featurettes, which examine the historical figures the most prominent characters are based on (very interesting).

And that ain’t all! Scorsese on Season 3 is just that, with good ol’ Marty weighing in on the season’s storytelling (he’s one of the EP’s after all). There’s a Director’s Chair featurette that focuses on the directing, by guys like Tim Van Patten and Allen Coulter (both A-listers ad SOPRANOS vets). Finally, there’s a segment on new Characters and a fourteen minute recap of season two. As is the norm for HBO, the set also comes bundled with DVD & Digital copies of all the episodes. A nice touch.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
For me, BOARDWALK EMPIRE is in the absolute top tier of shows that I watch, alongside BREAKING BAD (always just a bit better than all the others), MAD MEN, THE WALKING DEAD, and GAME OF THRONES. This is its best season yet, and I can’t wait until season four.
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