The organizing illusion in Luck is the notion that a horse crossing the finish line before another can truly change a man's life. As with Deadwood, the show's characters include all the men and women even peripherally invested in that illusion: jockeys, owners, trainers, low-lifes, misfits, criminals both petty and grand — notably Chester "Ace" Bernstein, played by a triumphant Dustin Hoffman. Milch's world of horse racing is different from his cops-and-robbers past, and not because the jockey genre is currently limited to, like, Seabiscuit. Because Deadwood is much the same, too — every man for himself, as long as every man agrees it's a prize worth winning.
Watching the Michael Mann-directed pilot, it's hard not see Hoffman as the equivalent of Deadwood's Al Swearengen: a deeply flawed, admittedly destructive man happy not to play by the rules, but ultimately more decent than he’d liked to admit. But Milch isn’t out to repeat himself, or please the fans of his previous shows.
"To think in terms of what the effect of a story is going to be as opposed to trying to discover its inner logic, is one of the fundamental dangers in the process," he says. "I'm just going to try and hit the ball straight and we'll see what field it turns out to be on."
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Looking forward to Luck, sometime later this year: