Peaky Blinders


Anyone here been watching Peaky Blinders? I just wrapped up the second season, and can't wait for the third.

It's a British historical crime drama series, starring Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, head of the Shelby family and their gang, the Peaky Blinders (based on the historical Peaky Blinders, though it's not entirely clear if the originals were a specific gang or just a generic term for street gangs). First season is set in 1919, and deals with the gang expanding their control of the gambling scene in Birmingham, while the second takes place two years later and has them spreading their business to London.

Apart from Cillian Murphy, the rest of the cast is fantastic as well. Sam Neill as Chief Inspecter Chester Campbell, and Helen McRory as Aunt Polly are standout performances, but the entire cast is strong. Second season adds Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, a Jewish gangster involved in illegal distilling, and Noah Taylor as Darby Sabini, a paranoid Italian gangster who runs nightclubs and dominates the London bookies.

The soundtrack is kind of amazing too. While the music that's actually part of the story (songs sung in bars, played by bands at clubs etc) is all period appropriate, the actual soundtrack is comprised of more modern music. A lot of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was used, as well as PJ Harvey and a number of other artists. Works really well with the style of the show.

Third season is apparently due sometime this year.

After all the name dropping Craig Ferguson did about it, I've been really curious to check it out.

I'd definitely recommend it. I was thinking about it, and the other performance that I'd rave about in it is from Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby, the mad dog of the family. The three elder brothers were all in France together during World War I, and they all came back damaged in their own ways, but Arthur is the one who seems to have real PTSD that gets progressively worse over the course of the series. It's particularly noticeable in the second season:

Early in the 2nd season, Arthur kills a young man he's meant to be sparring with to train as a boxer. He doesn't know what he's doing, he just flies into a rage and beats him to death. It's not the first time he's lost control while sparring, but it's the first time he's killed someone doing it. The mother comes looking for Arthur, and when he tries to offer to support her family (with money for her and jobs for her other sons), she tells him that she doesn't want his help, and that someone needs to stop people like him. While he gets progressively worse through the season, becoming a cokehead to stop himself getting depressed and so on, he has moments where he realises that he, and the gang, are going too far.

The last five minutes of the final episode of season 2 are where it hits home the hardest, as the gang are celebrating and he stands up on the bar and screams "To the Lee Boys and the Peaky f***ing Blinders! Who's gonna stop us, eh? NOBODY!", then a moment later he's sitting at the bar amidst all the cheering, nursing his drink and looking like he hates himself, whispering "No one's gonna bloody stop us. No one" (I may not have the dialogue exactly right, but you get the idea). It's a really strong end to the season, especially when it's juxtaposed with Tommy's final scene where you realise that despite everything that's happened, he's still ambitious and wanting to expand the business further.

While I think of it, fair warning it does contain a lot of nudity. But not in the way Game of Thrones does, where they seem to use the sex scenes to keep people paying attention while plot is explained. Doesn't feel as over the top as the GoT nudity, though others may see it differently.

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