Monday, June 28, 2010

Deadwood S1 Ep2: Deep Water

Deadwood, South Dakota.

This sequence speaks volumes about Deadwood, Season One. There is a general feeling of chaos and disorder concerning life in Deadwood, South Dakota. There is no rule of law and the idea of security is non-existent in what amounts to harsh conditions within this fledgling concept of frontier civilization [of which there is little of]. Can you imagine living like this? In this confrontation, Seth Bullock [Timothy Olyphant], with partner Sol Star [John Hawkes] meet with Al Swearengen [Ian McShane]. As a juxtaposition of law and order, Bullock, a former law man and Montana Marshal, is a symbol of justice and law, while crime and injustice are represented by warlord and criminal overseer Swearengen.

In this sequence, Al Swearengen visits Doc Cochran who is handling whore chores in Deadwood. It's a pretty vile business as the Doc is clearly overworked just keeping up with Swearengen's brothel demands. Next to the always magnificent performance of Ian McShane, Actor Brad Dourif [The Lord Of The Rings, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest] serves up turn after turn of equally engrossing work. This is a rare moment of challenge for Al Swearengen.

Swearengen really displays the monster within in this very moving, vulnerable sequence. There's something terribly unnerving when a child is involved with any kind of potential danger and menace and McShane nails the moment. It is deeply unsettling.

Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane creates a powerfully sympathetic portrait of the character. Her performance initially comes off a bit over the top and might be seen as such, but Weigert quickly grows on you.

Finally, McShane reconnects with Seth Bullock and Sol Star. The performances of Olyphant and Hawkes are truly wonderful in this series. Once again, these two actors serve up some delicious tension and wonderful drama amidst the splendid cast of Deadwood. I can't say enough about these two fine performers opposite the masterful Ian McShane.

If this isn't some of the most well-crafted and poetic dialogue you've ever heard then you can go blank yourself Cocksucker!

Deep Water: A
Writer: Malcolm MacRury
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Director Footnote: Davis Guggenheim [1963-present]. He has the fine distinction of being married to Elisabeth Shue. He has worked as a producer and director on some terrific series including Milch's NYPD Blue [1993-2005], The Shield [2002-2008], 24 [2001-2010], ER [1994-2009], Alias [2001-2006] and personal guilty pleasure Party Of Five [1994-2000]. He directed four [of twelve] episodes of Deadwood in Season One. He went on to direct the Academy Award-winning An Inconvenient Truth [2006] featuring internet inventor Al Gore. He also directed It Might Get Loud [2009] and Waiting For Superman [2010]. Not surprisingly, he's a huge Obama backer. Nobody's perfect.
This brief mini-review entry is a tribute to my friend J.D. over at Radiator Heaven who was kind enough to nominate me for a Versatile Blogger Award and who has inspired my recent rediscovery of the Western genre. He writes thoughtful and outstanding film analysis regularly. Cheers J.D.!


le0pard13 said...

This is one of those series I keep promising myself to FINALLY start. I think your post will get me off the snide about doing just that. Thanks, SFF.

SFF said...

My pleasure. I'm with you. There are so many films introduced to me by yourself, JKM and JD that are quite convincing for me to check out.

So much film and television on which to view, so little time. Cheers.