You have to take your hat off to Damian Lewis for his uncanny ability to pick a winner.
After his Golden Globe-winning performance as tortured marine Nicholas Brody in three series of brilliant spy thriller Homeland, he gave an acclaimed turn as a swaggering young Henry VIII in BBC2’s Wolf Hall, then decided to return to our screens last year in Sky Atlantic’s explosive Wall Street drama Billions.
Taking on the role of flashy, ruthless, morally bankrupt hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod was a huge departure, and a huge gamble, for Damian. But yes, once again, the show has been a big hit both here and in America.
It earned the highest ratings ever for an opening episode on the Showtime channel when it aired in the States, and became the most downloaded series from Sky Box Sets here in Britain.
SHOWTIME has a hit in its new series “Billions.” After only airing two episodes of a twelve episode season the show has already been renewed for another season. This is all as it should be since “Billions” has a first rate cast, a twisting and twisted plot, and production values that are comparable to well done movies.
The show focuses on a war of wills between an aggressive U.S. Attorney (Paul Giamatti) and a hedge fund giant (Damian Lewis). These two men, Chuck Rhoades and Bobby “Axe” Axlerod, play for high stakes with the winner taking all. Neither man is willing to give an inch and all bets are off as to who will be standing when all the dust clears.
“Billions” is very good television. How could it not be? Created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien (“Ocean’s Thirteen”) and Andrew Ross Sorkin (“Too Big to Fail”), it crackles with the self-confident repartee of those accustomed to high stakes and giddy heights delivered against backdrops that seem lifted from Esquire’s “Interiors We Love” issue. (If there were such a thing. Which there should be.)
More important, “Billions” pits Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod, a self-made billionaire, hedge-fund king and shark about town, against Paul Giamatti Chuck Rhoades, the equally ruthless if far less soignee attorney general who has sworn to have Axelrod’s scalp.
To which “Axe” (why name a character Axelrod if he’s not going to go by “Axe”?) replies: I double-dog dare you, dude.
Lewis and Giamatti are two of the best actors working —
No doubt they will soon be battling each other for an Emmy — and their presence together is great wealth of its own sort.
Axe is one of Lewis’ more voluble roles, but the actor maintains his power over stillness by allowing his character to say much while giving little away.
Giamatti may splutter and spit a bit more, but he is just as menacing, albeit much more human.
They are surrounded by a fine supporting cast, including a Machiavellian David Costabile as “Wags,” Toby Leonard Moore as Rhoades’ right-hand man and so many other white men in suits that it’s often hard to keep track.
Read the rest of the original article at the LA Times
Billions, money isn’t money, but a scorecard signifying a theoretically cold and objective qualification of bitterness and one-upmanship. The show’s dominating characters are too well-off for currency to matter to them in the visceral fashion that it does for most people. As a struggling investigator says to an inexplicably rich female co-worker at one point, “Only people with money forget about money,” and the woman in question presumably doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of capital that hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) possesses.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Review: Billions Delivers a Dose of Charisma to Hedge Fund Titans – Jan 15, 2016
Review: ‘Billions’ Delivers a Dose of Charisma to Hedge Fund Titans
by Heather Havrilesky – The New York Times – January 15, 2016
Damian Lewis portrays the hedge fund titan Bobby Axelrod in the series “Billions,” beginning Sunday on Showtime. JEFF NEUMANN / SHOWTIME
Men who make lots of money and growl at one another about profits and margins and winning and losing. Remember them?
Americans used to love watching stories about those guys, in the years before the excesses of Wall Street spawned a great recession and before Bernie Madoff brought abject fear back to personal investing. Once their shortsighted shell games toppled the world economy, though, it was a little harder to get into that high-capitalist gambling spirit.