19 May 2016 | Pavel-R
Keeping the Beat
Now here's a show that comes at you like a bullet being fired into your face by a Magnum 45. Scorsese, Jagger, and Winter are all tied up with this hard hitting drama about sex, violence, and rock n roll in that classically Scorsese way.
Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) is a coked-out-of-his-mind Scorsese archetype, but this isn't your typical Scorsese outing. This is a story about the underbelly of the music industry, and the blood and guts it takes to get ahead. Jagger and Scorsese both lived in this world of 1970s fight-the-establishment-rock-n-roll-lifestyle, and "Vinyl" captures that vibe and beat from the moment the needle drops on the first episode, to the final song on the last playlist in the season finale.
"Vinyl" follows a cocky records man named Richie Finestra, who chooses to not sell his company to a willing European conglomerate over plain prejudice, and blind rebellion. What ensues is a chaotic whirlwind of cause and effect, attributed to the faults of Finestra's deepest weakness: ego. But this isn't the story of the misunderstood monster, so much as its a story of bold entrepreneurship, and the dangers that come with artistic integrity and going at it on your own.
Bobby Cannavale has a raw acting quality that is perfect for a Scorsese lead, and reminds me of a young Marlon Brando; I mean the Brando of films like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "On the Waterfront." There's some sort of star making quality there, and Cannavale sells the shows dramatic chops so effortlessly. By the end of the season, he really makes Richie Finestra into a great TV legend, like Walter White, or Sherlock Holmes (the Cumberbatch version), or Don Draper, or Frank Underwood.
This is definitely not a soap opera with lame characters. Often, "Vinyl" is insanely addictive to watch, and every episode pushes the story to unsuspecting arch's or twists. I am not shitting you when I say that I was enormously intrigued by how the characters talked and acted, and was still shocked to have the rug pulled out from underneath me when I least expected it.
"Vinyl" has a lot to offer in its first season, but it also leaves a lot to be desired, which is a good thing, as I feel many shows often try to say what they have to within their first season out of fear of not getting another chance. But Scorsese, Jagger, and Winter are all veteran talents, and consistently prove that with their good handle on great writing, directing and overall showmanship. "Vinyl," so far is one of my brand spanking new favorites from the 2016 run of HBO shows.