As a keen poker player I’ve got a bit of an interest in the murky depths of the gambling world. So when I heard that there was to be a new HBO show called Luck and centred around horse racing in California I got quite excited.
I’m a big fan of HBO and have been quite obsessed with many of their shows such as Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Carnivale and The Sopranos. A mobbed up HBO gambling show really tickled my fancy. Then I started watching it.
Now, HBO do really go to a lot of effort to make their shows feel authentic (just look at Boardwalk Empire) and this is one of their great strengths. However in Luck, the effort put into giving an authentic feel to the seedy gambling underbelly of California feeds into my one, major, over-arching gripe that I just cannot get past: I have no clue what the characters are talking about.
There are three reasons why I’m finding the dialogue in HBO’s Luck as clear as a brick:
- The use of very specific gambling terminology and slang, it sounds as if they’re talking a completely different language, one which I just do not understand.
- The extremely thick accents’ of some of the characters (particularly Turo Escalante, the horse trainer).
- Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte’s apparent mumble off.
This clip should give you a good idea of the weird terminology, the accents and the mumbling.
Bernstein and Escalante are pretty bad, but neither can hold a candle to the gritty, throaty, mumbling master class delivered by Nick Nolte playing Walter Smith.
Now call you may call me old fashioned, you may accuse me of trying to strip authenticity from the televisual arts, but I want to know what the hell is going on when I watch a show. It’s just incredibly frustrating to watch all these intriguing dramatic scenes unfolding when you can see the passion and hear the power in the tone-of-voice, then to struggle to understand a large part of the often complex and important dialogue. It’s gotten on my nerves so much that I’ve just had to give up on the show, which is a real shame as if they’d broken us in to the terminology gently and instructed the actors to enunciate I think I would have loved Luck.
Oooh, epiphany… maybe I should try watching with subtitles, but considering how much dialogue I’ve missed, I think I’d have to watch it from the start again.
Do you agree? Would you like to attempt to defend the show? Either way we’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.
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