Deadwood has rotated back and forth with The Sopranos as my 2nd favorite HBO show of all time for a while. Usually it is solidly in 2nd place behind The Wire, but sometimes I get so mad about how abruptly it ended, and how for years we were teased with the prospect of the movies that would allow us to get closure, that it slides behind Tony and the gang for a bit. Well, now we have that movie.
Set 10 years after the events of the series, the nascent statehood of South Dakota and the imminent arrival of multiple telephone lines act as the excuse to get the gang back together (minus the likes of Powers Boothe and Ricky Jay who sadly have passed away in the interim). Like his real-life namesake George Hearst is now a Senator from California (if that is a spoiler you should’ve spent more time paying attention in history class). He, Alma Ellsworth, and Sofia return. Most everyone else never left.
It doesn’t take long for Trixie‘s temper to send things awry and before long there is blood spilled and tempers aflame. From there it is go time, albeit at Deadwood’s pace.
One of the beautiful things about the show was that it never felt like it was rushing to get to a big moment. It let things play out as they needed to. Lots of words were exchanged, most often peppered with copious amounts of words you shan’t use in front of mother (many of them started with mother, but I digress), but the action came when it needed to and not when a producer or director wanted it to. As far as action goes the show picks up right where it left off. Dialogue-wise there was no way they could have allowed all of the characters to opine and meander through conversations the way they did in the series. Time just didn’t allow it. Most characters got a chance to deliver at least one fun bit of a scene like they used to (Jeffrey Jones‘ A.W. Merrick being a notable exception to this rule), but other than main characters one bit of a scene was usually the max.
When the action does come, it does not mess around. Deadwood is not about sanitized violence.
There is one new character who has a multitude of scenes but that I saw no reason for existing other than to give other characters reasons to flashback onto events from the series. It makes me hope that there might be more Deadwood movies in the future, although with how this one ended I’m not sure how they would continue. The character that is the heart of the show for me has a very uncertain future as of the closing credits. With good writing nothing is impossible, but when you factor in David Milch’s health issues I’m not sure how feasible a continuation would be (and it makes me wonder if this character’s arc isn’t at least a little bit of a metaphor for Milch’s approach to the future) but it is definitely possible.
In the end this was a highly satisfying movie that paid off a lot more than it left hanging. However, it left enough hanging for it to be picked up again if the powers that be would stop being a bunch of coc…
…I should probably stop that particular train of thought there. This is a family-friendly website even if the subject of this review is decidedly not of that genre.
Gems From The Saloon:
- Happy to see Seth & Martha have stayed together and started a family of their own. And I like that no one but Martha calls Bullock “Seth”.
- Hearst & Bullock’s relationship has NOT improved with time.
- Did not expect to see Aunt Lou.
- Do not ask Seth Bullock to start the grill for you unless you like your meat cooked quickly.
- Never change, Mayor Farnum.
- I would watch a Bullock & Swearengen buddy road movie every day of the week and twice on Sunday. They don’t even need to get to a destination, just let ’em sit in the saddles and talk for a few hours.
- Seth Bullock must be one hell of a lover because Alma Ellsworth is still all about Timothy’s Olyphant.
- Joshua may be a newborn but he’s been around long enough to know not to trust, or take his eyes off of, Al Swearengen.
- GARRET DILLAHUNT SIGHTING!!!!!!!!
If you liked the show you will thoroughly enjoy the movie. If you never watched the show… I don’t know what is wrong with you, but I think you can still follow along well enough. There’s enough flashbacks so that even casual viewers can follow along.
5 Swedgins out of 5.