Ray Donovan DVDs
DVD Region: 4, PAL (for AUS & NZ)
Number of Discs: 20
Shipping: Send in 2-3 days from NSW, ETA 1-2 weeks.
Returns: 180 day money back for no reason, seller pays return postage.
Guarantee: Authentic DVD, money back if not delivered in 3 weekds.
You've been watching... Redonovan?
The dark drama about a “fixer” in Los Angeles is flawed, but its bold tone and strong cast, including Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber, give it great potential. In an age of dark, complex TV dramas full of antiheroes, it’s hard to make a mark on a new show. When Sky Atlantic first announced its acquisition of Ann Biderman’s noir-drama Ray Donovan, my reaction was: “it looks great, but is there really room in my life for another brooding leading man?”But in the remaining five episodes, I’m glad I stuck with it, because Ray Donovan, while certainly flawed, is a lot more interesting than its original premise — that our protagonists can change the lives of celebrities but can’t control their own.
Whether you agree or not will largely depend on what kind of program you want to see. If you make Ray Donovan want a Harvey Keitel scene from a TV version of “Pulp Fiction,” or a serious entourage with more violence and fewer complaints about dating secret service daughters, you might be disappointed. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about the show is that, as the series has progressed, there has been very little character in wray’s work. Instead, Biderman, the man behind “” Southland,” “is more interested in exploring a toxic family dynamic in Donovan than in scathing reviews of Hollywood’s fantasy factory.
Sometimes it seems a bit forced, as if peterman and her writers were so desperate to write “the sopranos” that they forgot to bring any of the original watches (in the process, the criminally wasteful Paula Malcolmson and ray’s wife Abby, reduced to nagging, complaining, about her life – she was a sullen carmela-redux with no warmth or vulnerability). Instead, however, there is a creeping sense of menace and a willingness by the writing team to take risks with tone, pace and reward.
One of the more interesting things about the show is its refusal to pull its punches where family patriarch Mickey is concerned. Mickey, played by Jon Voight with the permanently present grin of a shark in a tank of goldfish, is not a good man. More importantly, he has never been a good man. He gives loyalty to no one, is without an altruistic bone in his body and has screwed up his sons for so long and in so many different ways that it’s a miracle any of them are actually functioning.
From the casual cruelty of his remark that his abused son Bunchy won his million dollar payoff against the Catholic church “the hard way”, to the revelation that he’s working with an FBI agent to possibly bring down Ray, he lacks any redeeming qualities.
Yet if Mickey is a monster, then so too is Ray. As this series has progressed it has become increasingly clear that Ray (an enjoyably grumpy Liev Schreiber ) is no one’s hero, not even his family’s. Instead, what we are watching is a man slowly falling apart, thanks in part to his rage at the world. Despite his horrific past, it’s not really the world’s fault that Ray is angry – it’s something innate. With each episode we increasingly feel as though Ray might be the problem rather than the solution.
That creeping sense of unease is assisted by a strong support cast – we genuinely care about poor Bunchy and fading boxer Terry (not least because Dash Mihok and Eddie Marsan are doing solid work in fleshing out their roles) while James Woods has brought his usual slithering menace to the part of Whitey Bulger-style gangster Sully. Ray Donovan compels in the quiet moments when sweet-natured Terry fumbles towards love or as the aimless Bunchy tentatively takes steps towards some sort of life. When the show takes a chance with its material, forgets about emulating past shows and concentrates instead on letting its outstanding cast play off each other, then glimpses of another, more coherent drama shine through.
This show isn’t perfect. It can be clunky and occasionally plays a little too much like a send-up of a horrible Boston family, with the standard cliches (boxers, drink, fighting, big-haired women, abuse by priests) ticked off, but Ray Donovan still compels. Most intriguingly, with five episodes left, I have no real idea where it’s going. Is it about Ray and Mickey and their inevitable confrontation or, as seems increasingly likely, does Biderman have some other more complicated endgame in mind? Will the whole thing end up a shaggy dog tale or is there one final sting? Despite the occasional misstep, I’m still desperate to find out.