Blu-ray Review: “Treme: The Complete Series”

If you were offered a trip to New Orleans for just over a hundred bucks, you’d probably take it, right? Well, it is perhaps oversimplifying matters to equate the “Treme: The Complete Series” box set (available exclusively on Blu-ray) with a visit to N’Awlins, but maybe that’s only because there’s nothing particularly simple about “Treme.” Does that mean it’s the sort of series that will blow you away? Not at all. Indeed, “Treme” has no interest in even trying.

For those who missed the series over the course of its HBO run (and judging by its practically invisible ratings, there were quite a few of you), “Treme” begins three months after Hurricane Katrina all but wiped out the city of New Orleans, and follows more than a dozen NOLA residents from all different walks of life picking up the pieces and attempting to move forward. It’s a series about culture, politics, cooking, tradition, and most definitely music, which it revels in. The show dazzles viewers with one great musical sequence after another (all recorded live and with no overdubbing or lip-synching), and the list of artists – usually playing themselves – that appear on the series over the course of its 36 episodes is practically countless.

In many (if not most) ways, “Treme” is anti-television. It seemingly throws out the rulebook that started being written when TV came into existence, playing loose, but rarely fast. There’s a price to pay for this brand of innovative storytelling, though, and that’s that “Treme” does not excite in any of the traditional ways that we’ve come to expect television to. Not once in the entire series will you throw your arms up and cry, “Yeah right! That would never happen!” such is the day to day reality of its goings-on. Indeed, when viewing it, you almost have to train yourself to watch this brand of TV a little differently.

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A chat with Paul Walker (“Hours”)


In “Hours” (available in select theaters and on VOD December 13th), Paul Walker portrays Nolan Hayes, a man who has to deal with the consequences of Hurricane Katrina while facing a personal tragedy surrounding the birth of his daughter. The film contains elements of action, thriller and caused the actor to encounter a personal attachment to the movie. Prior to his tragic death, Walker sat down to discuss the challenges and satisfaction in taking on such a unique role, as well as his relationships with his “Fast and the Furious” castmates.

With the clock ticking away, what did you tap into as an actor to relay that urgency?

PAUL WALKER: We were probably about two-thirds of the way into the movie and it hit me what the significance of this project was to me. It was weird the way it happened. Just by page value, I was like, “Wow, this is pretty powerful.” I was crying and upset and yelling at him. I was feeling all these emotions. I realized it wasn’t about Nolan and a baby, and this beautiful girl. This is life and this machine is just this crazy thing I’ve been running for I don’t know how long. I’m just spinning it for what reason? I’m just juggling all these balls. You’re trying to make sense of it and it hit me when I was a kid. I started doing this in my early twenties. I was like, “I’m a science guy. I’m a geek. I’m into science and botany and marine sciences. I’m supposed to be outdoors and hiking. Maybe I’m supposed to be a professional guide.” I fought this for years and years and years, but at the same time, I wasn’t stupid. I was like, “I just had a child out of wedlock. It’s a good thing I’m making another movie. I’m going into “Varsity Blues,” just before I thought about leaving. I could put a roof over my baby’s head and then I could figure out my stuff. I’m in this movie and it speaks to me in a very pure and truthful level. What I didn’t realize is that this is my life. This is all of our friggin’ lives. We’re running around and cranking this stupid machine and we get flat-backed and something crazy happens to us and you look inside the box and go, “Holy shit.” So, I was about two-thirds into the movie and thought, “Oh my god, this is so therapeutic.”

How much of a physical toll was doing this movie?

PAUL WALKER: It was a walk in the park. (Laughs) It had a good balance, the physicality and the emotional component. I remember it being around midday and going, “Holy hell, I’ve got six hours left to go,” but at the end of the day…let me go back. My father was a contractor. He made me learn a different trade every summer going through high school. All of his buddies were tradesmen. My dad was like, “They can never take skill sets away from you. That’s something you’ll always have, so you’ll always be worth something, because you’ll always be able to provide a certain service.” He’s smart like that. My grandfather’s like that, too. At the end of the day, you can go, “Wow, look what I did.” Movies don’t have that. A film goes off in a canister or on a digital chip. There’s nothing to show for it. I said some things and I was trying to be cool, but that’s about it. (Laughs) That’s all you have. On this one, at the end of the day, I was like, “I experienced some stuff today. I felt some things.” I connected with Genesis. I loved that girl, working off her. I fell in love with her. It was reinvigorating. At the end of the day, I was like, “There might not be anything to show for it, but there’s something to feel for it.” So, when it came to work and getting up the next day, I was like, “Hell yeah!” I was ready to go.

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