Television // “The Deuce” Premiere

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James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Pernell Walker.

Acclaimed showrunner David Simon delves into New York’s 70’s porn industry in his latest project.

As creator, writer and executive producer of several of HBO’s greatest shows, David Simon is responsible for some of the best television ever produced. After lauded portrayals of Baltimore and New Orleans he turns to New York in seedy drama “The Deuce”.

The New York porn rise is chronicled through bar manager Vince Martino (James Franco) and prostitute turned porn star Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Vince is a recently single father helping pay his twin’s gambling debts and Candy has a young son she wants to provide a better life for. They spot an opportunity to make money as the industry literally takes off around them. In their endeavours they find themselves alongside many different walks of life, none of whom can be painted with broad strokes.

While only three episodes have aired in the US so far the direction the show is taking is very exciting. The Deuce takes a stab at the misogynistic and corrupt power systems in America with a modern slant. As always with David Simon, moral ambiguity is a strong theme and particularly interesting in the porn world where women hold such power but receive little respect.

The sensitive portrayals of sex workers are a refreshing change to stereotypical writing and the stories of those building the industry provide very intriguing television. It would also seem Simon is one of the few people able to reign in James Franco, as his turn as both Martino twins may be his finest performance yet. The cast are great across the board, unsurprising considering the number of familiar faces from “The Wire” and Simon’s other works. The Deuce has already been renewed for a second season and has the potential to rival HBO’s best if able to stay the course.

The Deuce premieres in the UK on Sky Atlantic tonight at 9PM.

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Author: cultfilmedinburgh

Edinburgh's monthly cult film screening community.

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