JAMES FRANCO AND MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL SHINE IN HBO’S 70S ERA DRAMA ‘THE DEUCE’!

From David Simon and George Pelecano (The Wire, Treme), The Deuce is HBO’s latest drama, set in 1970s New York, spotlighting the emergence of the sex and porn industry in the Big Apple.

But this is not the glossy sheen of the big city, but the seedy, dark, underbelly, with the show following characters on the fringes of society. This is a tale of prostitutes and pimps, where sex is a trade and women are cash cows. A tale of mobsters and gamblers, corruption and violence.

deuce Paul Schiraldi HBO

Twin brothers Frankie (James Franco), a brutish gambler, and Vinnie (James Franco), a morally conflicted family man are very different animals, both trying to survive the daily grind of the big city.

The wide-eyed and hopeful like Lori (Emily Meade), stream into New York by the busload, determined to make it against the bright lights of Broadway, instead, lured into the clutches of men in dusty Cadillacs. But girls like Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) make their own rules and do whatever they have to, to put food on the table for their kids. Candy might be a prostitute, but she will never be the property of any pimp. She’s her own boss.

Mobsters lurk, eager to collect on debts and settle scores with fists and fire power while the blue line of law enforcement asserts itself in a tussle for supremacy. It is that battle for power – sexual, financial and political – that permeates the show.

Visually, The Deuce is striking. From the 70s attire – big hair, short-shorts, flares and worn-in leather jackets – to the grimy bars and littered sidewalks, the Nixon-era backstreets are captured vividly. A stellar cast elevates the show, led by a brilliant Franco pulling double duty and an utterly engaging Gyllenhaal who fires on all cylinders. The Deuce demands to be noticed and is well worth the time invested if you tune in.

‘THE DEUCE’ AIRS ON HBO, SUNDAYS, 9 PM.

PHOTO: PAUL SCHIRALDI/ HBO

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