Review: Boardwalk Empire: Complete Series

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Series

HBO Home Video
Street: 05.19

Steve Buscemi is easily one of modern cinema’s most criminally underutilized treasures. No matter what role he gets cast in, Buscemi absolutely nails it—even if we often have to watch him do it from the sidelines. Seeing him cast in a leading role—in an HBO series, no less—felt less like an unusual surprise and more like a long-overdue opportunity for him to bring his acting chops to center stage. Boardwalk Empire gets a slow start in Season One, but from the very first scene, Buscemi—as the semi-fictional Enoch “Nucky” Thompson—starts chewing up some damn fine scenery. The crew behind this production captures the whole spectrum of ’20s glam, especially the seedy underbelly of corruption and criminality that ran rampant in Atlantic City during Prohibition. Tackling all of the special features in this Blu-ray collection is a feat in itself. On some discs, you have the option of activating “Enhanced Viewing Mode,” which, though it’s mostly a fancied-up commentary track, actually pulls up images of period photos and other references to add to the viewing experience. Everything in this set was handled impeccably with an eye to good design and enough features to keep things rich and interesting. –Henry Glasheen