Scorsese Scores Big With New Drama Vinyl

Scorsese Scores Big With New Drama Vinyl

HBO'S NEW MUSIC DRAMA BRINGS THE 1970S RECORDING INDUSTRY OF NEW YORK BACK TO LIFE ON THE SMALL SCREEN WITH BOBBY CANNAVALE, OLIVIA WILDE, JAMES JAGGER, JUNO TEMPLE, AND MORE. HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PILOT, AIRING THIS SUNDAY

HBO'S NEW MUSIC DRAMA BRINGS THE 1970S RECORDING INDUSTRY OF NEW YORK BACK TO LIFE ON THE SMALL SCREEN WITH BOBBY CANNAVALE, OLIVIA WILDE, JAMES JAGGER, JUNO TEMPLE, AND MORE. HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PILOT, AIRING THIS SUNDAY

Created by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, HBO's new period drama Vinyl follows Bobby Cannavale’s Richie Finestra as an embattled music industry executive, weighing both the needs of his label’s financial success, and his artists thirst for creative control, all set against the backdrop of a fading marriage.

Directed by Scorsese himself, the Vinyl pilot dabbles in themes of racial violence, sexuality, and murder. While these subjects seem like hot topics—and they definitely do help move the latter half of the two-hour episode quickly—the most striking concept examined in the episode is authenticity. It comes up when blues singer Lester Grimes, played by Ato Essandoh, begs Finestra to allow him to stop doing dance records so he can stick to what he loves.

The line between reality and falsehood is blurred when Finestra and his wife Devon, played by an enchanting Olivia Wilde, both tell each other they need a change, yet make arrangements to meet upstairs in bed, leaving little to the imagination of the viewer. The authenticity of their relationship comes into question again when Devon throws Richie a lavish birthday party against his wishes, knowing his company is in financial crisis mode.

Beyond the darker moments of Vinyl, there are definitely stronger glimmers of hope, most evident in a breakout performance by James Jagger (the son of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall) who plays aspiring rock star Kip Stevens, whose name surprises Juno Temple’s Jamie Vine, an A&R Assistant at Finestra’s label who thinks of Kat Stevens. Jagger brings a raw sense of sexiness that compliments Temple’s young sense of intelligence.

Vinyl is a cultural moment with career-defining performances by Cannavale, Jagger and Temple. The strong budget definitely helps with vibrant costumes by Mark Bridges and pointed casting by Ellen Lewis. If there is any new show to watch this season, Vinyl is the one.

Vinyl premieres Sunday, February 14 at 9pm ET on HBO.

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