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185 words about Luck
The horses in motion
Luck is mostly remembered as the HBO series with Dustin Hoffman canceled because they kept killing horses, an ignominious but fitting downfall for a show well on its way to a second season at the time — fitting because David Milch’s underworld of lower-stakes stakes never failed to remind you who the real stars of the show were. Though Dennis Farina and Nick Nolte are just a couple of the big names that settle comfortably into their roles, though there are casinos and fancy suites and boats and run-down motels that give you visually engaging respite from Santa Anita, and though the music is frequently, distractingly invasive, it’s in the quiet barn scenes and race sequences that you understand the horses are the attraction here. Thoroughbreds’ graceful power and fragility loom large over the series, right down to its beautiful final moments. I’ll never listen to Sigur Rós’ “Álafoss” again without thinking of that final shot — and in that darkness, I’ll also never not think of American Pharoah, Galileo, Secretariat, Man o’ War, Kincsem, Eclipse, of Eadweard Muybridge, of the history of film itself.