“Luck”: Quality of new HBO drama should ensure satisfaction for viewers
If you’re drawn to character-driven drama, you’re bound to be enamored with the HBO series “Luck,” which focuses on the many personalities involved with horse racing.
“Deadwood” creator David Milch and acclaimed director Michael Mann have collaborated on a series that has as much talent in the cast as it does behind it.
As the series begins, Dustin Hoffman stars as Chester “Ace” Bernstein, who has just been released from federal prison and has bought a horse that his driver and bodyguard, Gus Demitriou (Dennis Farina) fronts as the owner for.
The horse’s proficient but disreputable trainer is Turo Escalante (John Ortiz), whose girlfriend, Jo, (Jill Hennessey) is the track veterinarian.
Nick Nolte plays trainer-turned-owner Walter Smith, who is haunted by a past event, but has a horse with serious potential.
Four degenerate gambling buddies, Marcus (Kevin Dunn), Renzo (Ritchie Coster), Jerry (Jason Gedrick) and Lonnie (Ian Hart) pool together what money they have to bet Jerry’s hunch on the day’s long shot, a high-stakes Pick Six winners contest.
Other key roles include jockey agent Joey Rathburn (Richard Kind); beginner jockey Leon (Tom Payne); exercise girl Rosie (Kerry Condon); and veteran jockey Ronnie Jenkins, played by real-life racing Hall of Famer Gary Stevens.
Guest stars such as Joan Allen, Bruce Davison, Mercedes Ruehl, Patrick J. Adams and Sir Michael Gambon also appear throughout “Luck.”
The first episode, directed by Mann and written by Milch, sets the tone for a show that is deliberately paced (with the exception of the horse races), is beautifully shot, and is absolutely intoxicating in its ability to get viewers caught up in the lives of all of these diverse characters.
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