Dustin Hoffman Rides LUCK To HBO On DemandFebruary 09, 2012

Dustin Hoffman Rides LUCK To HBO On Demand

HBO

Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: LUCK (HBO).


LUCK
Race to the Dark Side

By Jean Tait

 

2011 was a great year for equine actors. With WAR HORSE and “Luck” there are some wonderful roles if you’re a good-looking horse. HBO’s new star-studded drama, “Luck” Has gorgeous horses and a fastidiously clean racetrack and stables. I’ve rarely seen an ugly horse, and racetracks aren’t my usual hangout, but I doubt they look so well, not smelly!

 


LUCK: Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman. photo: Gusmano Cesaretti (HBO)

“Luck” is good for human actors as well, although they aren’t as pretty or hygienic. The men (with a couple of notable exceptions) all look as if they were rode hard and put up wet. No botox on these actors. Careworn faces and hair that needs cutting and bodies that need the gym all give a far more authentic look to “Luck” than the sets do with their store-bought vintage cool.

It’s nice to see down on their luck folks who don’t look like they just stepped off a red carpet, even though we know we’ll be seeing them there in the near future. When you see actors such as Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte (I’m not putting in awards or credits because if you don’t know who they are, you probably wouldn’t be reading this), Dennis Farina (“Law and Order”), Jason Gedrick, (“Necessary Roughness,” “Desperate Housewives”) and Kevin Dunn (“Seventh Heaven”), you know there will be no false notes.

 


LUCK: Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn, Jason Gedrick. photo: Gusmano Cesaretti (HBO)

“Luck” is Dustin Hoffman’s first foray into television in a very long time, and it took director Michael Mann (LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and “Deadwood” creator David Milch to get him there. Miraculously, there are no quirks or tics in his portrayal of Ace Bernstein: just an ice-cold stoicism with occasional hair-trigger fiery outbursts, with just a hint of hurt as when he notices that the collars of his shirts are too big.

 


Michael Mann and Nicke Nolte (HBO)

 

Ace isn’t the only character with a temper. Pretty much everyone in “Luck” is angry. Not one person is nice to another, even the ones who are working together. As for sex, the only sex (so far—I’ve only seen two episodes) is really a ruse to get extremely violent, when a threesome goes bad. We can only hope some of the relationships develop into something other than animosity. So far, though, this seems to be headed from dark to darker in tone. I know, the people who brought us “Deadwood” aren’t going to make “Pushing Daisies,” but does everyone have to be so nasty?

“Luck” might be confusing to the non-horsetrack crowd. The presskit even came with a glossary of racetrack terminology! So even though I watched it happen, I have no idea how a “claim” works. I think I must be getting crabby and old because even with the unfamiliar verbiage, I swear everyone is mumbling and the music is annoyingly loud. That along with the jumpy editing are supposed to be edgy, but I just find it distracting.

 


LUCK: Jill Hennessy. photo: Gusmano Cesaretti (HBO)

I’m going to hang in there a while since there are glimmers of hope for something other than mean, dirty people, with the lovely Jill Hennessy as the track veterinarian, adorable Tom Payne as a cocky rider, and Kerry Condon as a wannabe jockey.

 

 

- Jean Tait

 

Jean
Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
 

LUCK (HBO) is available on HBO On Demand.

 

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