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'Lilyhammer' delivers black comedy
Showtime with Sasha
Steve Van Zandt, who played Silvio in The Sopranos, plays a New York mobster trying to adapt to live in Norway in "Lilyhammer." - photo by Studio photo

In addition to being your film critic, I also happen to be a satisfied Netflix user. That means I get a DVD in the mail every few days for my viewing pleasure, and enjoy instant films, shows and documentaries online.
Cable? Who needs cable? Couldn’t I just be the Netflix spokeswoman?
At any rate, one such instant item is the first-ever Netflix original series, “Lilyhammer.” That’s right; the company is attempting to give HBO a run for its money.
“Lilyhammer” is a Norwegian-American series that has eight episodes in its first season. Fans of “The Sopranos” will recognize the star of this series: actor Steve Van Zandt, who played Silvio in “The Sopranos.”
In “Lilyhammer,” Van Zandt is a mobster who rats on a rival and is given a new identity and free trip to Norway for his trouble. Thank you, FBI. In fact, he’s the one who chooses the location, thinking none of his mafia buddies will find him there.
He says, “Didn’t you see the 1994 Olympics? It was bea-uuuti-ful.”
Once he gets to his new home, however, there has never been a more interesting fish out of water.
For me, the first episode was a little shaky. It starts off nicely, and holds your attention pretty well for the first half of the 45 minutes. There is a slow bit as our anti-hero tries to give a real-life wolf an offer he can’t refuse for encroaching on a pretty lady’s farm.
I am so glad I kept watching, though. In episode after episode, “Lilyhammer” gets funnier and funnier in a black comedy sort of way. There’s plenty of action, too, and combined with the chilly location and wonderful soundtrack, it reminded me of one of my favorite noirs of all time, “Fargo.”
Van Zandt is a great character actor. Even when the script calls for him to stand still and not speak, he’s acting. The Norwegian cast members are all so authentic and natural. My favorite is Trond Fausa Aurvaag, who becomes the right-hand man of our mobster. He makes for great comic relief without being a total clown.
I’m a fan!

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