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The Deuce-Review

New York in the early 1970s was a time when the streets were covered with working girls and flashy pimps. Sex was taboo but the sex industry was on the verge of one of its biggest explosions ever: Porno! The Deuce takes a look at the hookers, pimps, and degenerates who are responsible for an industry with billions today. The Deuce is derived from the the nickname for 42nd street between 7th ave and 8th ave where the majority of the working girls of the day could be found. The sex trade was dangerous. Pimps were a necessary protection for the women of the street but also were a driving force in keeping them in the life.

James Franco plays the role of Twins Vincent and Frankie Martino. Vincent, a hard-working bartender, his brother, Frankie, a degenerate gambler. The brothers are brought together in business by a gangster Rudy Pipilo, Michael Rispoli, who sees the potential in them both. Rudy wants Vincent to turn his failing bars into money makers while he uses Frankie to collect debts from his porno vending machines. James Franco does some of his best dramatic work and I predict that he’s going to be nominated for an Emmy with this performance.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Candy, plays a smart, independent street walker at the end of her career. She’s a mother and looking to get out of life but she doest know anything but the sex trade. She does a few movies for the peep show vending machines that were popular in adult stores in the day. Candy starts to fall in love with the film making process. Making money on the street and even behind closed doors is dangerous for the ladies. Angry pimps, unstable Johns, diseases. Making movies for the peep shows doesn’t pay much, at first, but is a welcome rest from the chaos of the streets. Candy, recognizes this and the fact that if taken seriously, these movies have a greater potential for a career and more stability.

A young black reporter, Sandra Washington, Natalie Paul, is trying to get the story about the life of girls on the street when she discovers that the girls on the street don’t get to work without the blessing of the local police. Kickbacks and payoffs, eventually the law forces the girls off of the streets and indoors inside of massage parlors Yes, those massage parlors that exist today, some are legit, but you know, watch the Deuce.

The Deuce is about pornography and the sex trade, so if you’re looking for a deeper political or social commentary, this probably isn’t the show for you. It’s gritty, its rough, there is a lot of sex. The Deuce does a great job in showing a stronger side to prostitutes but it is a show about a taboo lifestyle and the people who are in it. Great acting, strong cinematography, fantastic music, the Deuce is an excellent effort in storytelling and exceptionally well done.