If you are like me, which I hope you aren’t, you will be more than fashionably late (about a year and a half) to the seriously slick party that is; Peaky Blinders. So, sit back, put your feet up, get the popcorn ready and enjoy the madness that unfolds.
But First, What the Hell is it?
Well, Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama series set in Birmingham in 1919 which follows the story of a notorious gang from back in the day called, wait for it…. Peaky Blinders. The members of the gang were known for sewing razor blades into the brims of their hats. Strange? yes. Not for you? I beg to differ, so keep reading to find out why you need to give this show a watch.
Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby
Believe me, watching this show just for Murphy’s performance alone is more than enough. His acting is sublime and that is high praise coming from the girl who wouldn’t have classed him in her top 20 favourite actors before seeing him play the Peaky Blinders’ leader, Thomas Shelby. (He has now jumped into the top 10, FYI).
Murphy portrays Shelby as more than just a gangster. A superb mix of sensitive, loyal and terrifying, Thomas Shelby is a man who will intrigue you and capture your endearment from the word go. With his ambition to turn the family business into a legitimate one and his dedication to his family, you will find it very hard not to root for him, despite his sometimes poor decision making, his sometimes violent nature and his initial emotional detachment . The genius of Murphy’s performance is how the look of danger in Shelby’s eyes can both horrify and charm the audience all at once. It’s a joy to watch Murphy play the part. And in fairness, he’s pretty great to look at.
Well, more factually, women. Strong minded, very independent women characters shine in this TV series , which is quite unusual for a show based primarily gangsters beating the crap out of each other, but it works really well. Played by the wildly talented Helen McCrory, Aunt Polly is the ring leader of the clan and keeps the Shelby ship in line as best she can. Tommy runs the streets but she runs the family business. Herself and Tommy are the brains behind the Shelby family success and it works well to see how the business is run from both a male and female perspective. (Fun side fact: Helen was Draco Malfoy’s mother in Harry Potter)
Then there is the Ada, the lone girl in a family of gangsters but she is no push over and her opinionated stubborn, feisty side is something to be applauded. There’s also Grace, an undercover detective who immerses herself in the town run by the Shelbys and can more than hold her own when needs be.
Well when I say the soundtrack, I really mean the theme music which is murky and slightly eery but the beat leaves this tune, Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ stuck in your head and you will forever associate it with this show. Also, cleverly, and slightly surprisingly, the entire soundtrack uses contemporary, more modern music than is expected for the era it’s set in with the likes of the White Stripes, Tom Waits and The Black Keys all featuring.
Not to ruin it or anything but TOM HARDY guest stars in season 2 of the show. I don’t really need to elaborate that point, I mean come on, it’s TOM HARDY. Not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but he is brilliant in his role as Shelby’s would be brother-in-arms, gang leader Alfie Solomons.
Just watch the bloody thing!
Put simply, Cillian Murphy is a don, the women are beautiful but strong minded and the cast are outrageously talented. Plus, there’s only six episodes per season so you will be finished in no time, suffering terribly from Thomas Shelby and dodgy Brummie accent withdrawals in anticipation of season 3, and cursing me for ever introducing you to it.
Season 1 and 2 of Peaky Blinders is already available to stream on Netflix so give it a try, you won’t regret it!