Image courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b045fz8r
This heavily stylised drama set in Birmingham after the First World War certainly can’t be criticised for following the often slow period pieces that come out of the BBC. In fact it’s quite the opposite, the violence of the ‘Peaky Blinders’ is often central to the progress of both plot and character.
Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), is an illegal bookmaker and caretaker for his family. Calculating, manipulative but always with his family’s interests at heart, it’s Tommy’s desire to expand the family empire and that of his gang, the Peaky Blinders. Assisted by his intelligent Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory), his thuggish older brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson) and younger brothers John (Joe Cole) and Finn (Harry Kirton), expansion seems all too attainable.
However, the arrival of the ruthless Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill), fresh from dealing with the IRA and on an unstoppable mission to find stolen guns; a new barmaid, Grace (Annabelle Wallis) who’s seems overly eager to learn Tommy’s business; and his sister Ada’s (Sophie Rundle) affinity for communist Freddie Thorne (Iddo Goldberg), all throw a spanner in the works of Tommy’s schemes to legitimise his business (even if it’s intended as a front for the more illegal aspects).
While some criticise ‘Peaky Blinders’ for being overly violent, it underlines the brutality of the time that developed from poor living conditions, soldiers who’d returned from war and the gang culture that was rife in cities, while also revealing that cruelty that dwells in the characters themselves.
With the second and third series adding Tom Hardy, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine to the roster, as well as other locations in England (namely London), the fantastic array of acting talent and set design is matched by the soundtrack accompanying the show, which utilises a mix of older and more modern songs to remarkable effect.
With a further two series already commissioned from the three already produced, the phenomenon of Steven Knight’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ looks set to continue. Even if you’re not a fan of blood and gore, I can assure you that the driving force are the intense plots which should definitely be enough to keep you hooked.