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Thread: Peaky Blinders

  1. #1

    Peaky Blinders

    On watching the first episode I found it hard to get to grips with the Birmingham
    accent sounding anywhere close to menacing ,but the quality of the acting from
    Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby and specifically Helen McCrory as the matriarchal
    Aunt Polly has more than quashed those earlier concerns.

    Peaky Blinders takes us back to a period following World War One,where the action
    takes place upon the grim streets of Birmingham shadowed by the stark Grey
    workhouses, and contrasted perfectly against the bustling Birmingham Docks.

    Firstly a brief introduction to the players in this gritty but glorious drama .

    Peaky Blinders stars Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby a returning war hero from the
    hellish trenches of the Somme ,and if the nightmares and casual opium have any
    baring then he has yet to fully shake away the blood soaked mud from his boots.

    Cillian Murphy is mesmerising in his role as Tommy Shelby ,and if he can produce
    performances of such raw and unyielding menace whilst wielding nothing more than
    a Brummie accent then his acting is finally finding the audience his ability truly merits.

    Tommy Shelby is the head of the notorious Peaky Blinders ,so labelled for their
    penchant for stitching razor blades into their caps. Now an introduction to the
    other players in this bleak tale of archaic Birmingham....

    Aunt Polly is the blunt matriarch of the family whose apron strings clearly still
    ensure the entwinement needed to hold this eponymous family firmly in place.
    Helen McCrory proffers a simply unblemished performance as the rigid, but
    beautifully balanced Aunt Polly.

    Sam Neil plays Chief Inspector Campbell ,probably best known for Jurassic Park
    which is possibly a sad reflection on a very accomplished actors career.
    I expect his portrayal of Campbell will lay those ghosts firmly to rest.

    Inspector Campbell has been drafted in from war torn Northern Ireland to recover
    some stolen guns and ammunition under Churchill's express orders, and on his arrival
    onto the intemperate streets of Birmingham he witnesses the drunken revelry and
    the obsequious drop into licentiousness of its inhabitants, and his steely unforgiving
    stare gives us a hint of the furious vengeance that will soon fall on this unfortunate
    carousal.

    I will add further appraisals of the supporting cast as soon as they hold the screen
    long enough for me to proffer my critique fairly.

    Peaky Blinders looks like it will make for quality television ,like a kind of British
    Boardwalk Empire.

  2. #2
    I enjoyed the introduction last night of this new character King Billy a gangster who runs all gambling at race tracks.

  3. #3
    Episode One

    Peaky Blinders opens with Tommy Shelby riding a racehorse through the muddy
    streets of Birmingham whilst onlookers hide behind abandoned carts ,or do their
    best to avert their stare. He's met by a young Chinese girl who supposedly tells
    fortunes ,she proceeds to whisper an enchantment and blows red powder into
    the horses surprised nostrils.

    Shelby proclaims loudly to those listening in the shadows that the horses name
    is Monaghan Boy running in the 3:00 at Kempton.Its more than evident on the
    ride back just how much his criminal organisation is feared as even the local
    constabulary doff their helmets to award him a "Good morning Mr Shelby" as
    means of a conciliatory approach.

    He turns the handle on a small terrace house door and enters ,a young boy
    hurriedly extinguishes a cigarette,after a few words to enable his discouragement
    of this childs habit he pulls open a set of drapes and suddenly this house we believed
    to be a humble dwelling is actually a thriving bookies holding at least 15 of his co
    conspirators . Its actually nothing more lavish than three houses knocked through
    to accommodate the staff he employs.

    Its here we meet Arthur the older Shelby brother ,as Tommy is beckoned to his office
    in a less than courteous manner . It seems Arthur is fretful of Tommy's penchant for
    acting under his own volition.....In other words he chides him for his use of the
    Chinese girl to supposedly spirit the horse into winning. It seems express permission
    from a character we have yet to meet is needed . 'Billy Kimber' it seems is the man
    who currently holds all the cards. Tommy informs his brother he needn't be so overly
    concerned and he has everything in order,rather he tells his brother "I think so you
    don't have to "which in layman's terms obviously means there's a new sheriff in town.

    Arthur follows Tommy out the office somewhat disgruntled, and in earshot of all collated
    he shouts he's calling a family meeting,and in a futile attempt to regain some respectability
    demands Tommy be present.

    We cut to a train brakes screeching through a tunnel ,both ear piercing and resonating in equal
    measure,it carries within its carriages Chief Inspector Campbell he sits in the opulent furnishings
    reading a file that contains the photos and army careers of both Shelby brothers.

    Racketeer,Gangster ,Bookmaker,and leader of the notorious 'Peaky blinders' is not the sort of
    resume that would garner any form of respect from our careful reader.

    Enter another main character in Freddie ,a soap box preaching communist ,who plays the main
    antagonist as far as our man Tommy Shelby is concerned. It seems they shared a battlefield in
    Flanders ,no doubt more of the ties that bind them will become more apparent over the coming
    weeks,as the dialogue between the two men in the pub becomes more than a touch secretive
    both men verbally sparring to the extent that we glean Freddie saved Tommy's life in France by
    taking a bullet for him. I think this is what affords him his bravado in the company of Tommy
    whilst the rest of the pub cower in either fear or misguided reverence.

    The pub doors swing open unceremoniously ,and the frantic Danny runs in experiencing another
    episode of reminiscence back to the atrocities he witnessed in Flanders. Its obviously a recurring
    theme as Tommy and Freddie deal with the furore by pinning the erratic Danny face down in the
    saw dust .

    So back to the conversation between our two main protagonists in this Drama ,Freddie informs
    Tommy that he has heard about a consignment of guns and ammunition gone missing from a BSA
    factory and that Churchill has sent some one down to Birmingham to recover the lost cargo.

    On the verge of the much anticipated 'family meeting', Aunt Polly is waiting outside to greet
    her nephew with hand outstretched ,not in a hospitable way mind ,because in this case in her
    hand is a gun. It seems said gun was picked up by Finn this very morning as the youngest of
    the Shelby's John had left it on the sideboard...... She slaps him hard across the face,and follows
    it up with a kick to the ribs....Retribution with a motherly hand.

    The family meeting was called because two of Arthur's employees had been in the Shank Hill Road
    apparently buying stallions, when they noticed flyers were being handed out recruiting for any Irish
    protestants over 5 ft tall to come to Birmingham.

    Tommy informs all gathered that he had received prior warning of the events yet to unfold,to which
    Arthur's response is "You never told me " the swift and curt retort is "I'm telling you now "
    Aunt Polly awaits Tommy in the church ,clutching her rosary beads like a kind of abacus ,counting
    down the options open to her....As Tommy takes a pew behind her ,she requests an explanation
    It seems Aunt Polly has her finger also firmly on the pulse ,and has heard whispers concerning the
    missing ammunition and the recriminations likely to follow.

    Tommy sits penitently like a scolded altar boy for a few brief moments ,then he tells her it was all
    supposed to be a routine theft and he had a buyer in London for some Motorcycles ,but the crates
    they snatched were far from the normal BSA fodder,in fact in this instance they were actually 25
    Lewis machine guns ,10 thousand rounds of ammunition ,and 50 semi-automatic rifles along with
    50 pistols.....Tell me you threw them in the cut she practically implores,Tommy's answer is not the
    one she wished to hear thrown back.

    He tells her he cant move the cargo for three days ,and to do so with a full moon would be foolish
    in the extreme. Aunt Polly regains her composure and tells Tommy "You have your mothers common
    sense ,but your fathers devilment ,and I can see them fighting "

    Cut to clandestine meeting under the canal bridge between Tommys sister and his fellow compatriot
    from the trenches in France. Obviously this man holds no fear of the Shelby's even to the point of
    playing Russian roulette with his own mortality if such a liaison wherever to become public.

    Back at the pub ,a young woman from Dublin turns up looking for work and a place to live ,Grace
    Burgess is an uncommonly beautiful woman with tonsils bathed in honey ,and when she sings even
    the hardest cauliflowered ears of this battle hardened clientèle melt like butter under a warm knife.

    Shake up time at the local constabulary headquarters ,as Chief Inspector Campbell descends the
    stairs ,all stand to acknowledge his ominous presence when he enters the room .

    What follows is his assessment of these unholy Birmingham streets where prostitution starts when
    a girl is deemed old enough to bleed ,its fire and brimstone time ,and many biblical quotes are
    showered upon the officers he deems unworthy to wear a badge.

    Ian Paisley himself would stand and applaud the demonising sermon which spills from his vengeful
    mouth ,he refers to the 'Peaky Blinders' as a three headed serpent the first being the fenian's
    the second the communists and the third Blacker hearts still the Peaky Blinders.

    Following this the scathing Preacher apprehends Arthur Shelby and has him soundly beaten
    He tells a bloody Arthur Shelby that this is a formal introduction....One more cursory warning
    before he breaks his thumb ,its upon this action that he realises he know's nothing of the
    stolen guns he seeks and releases him.

    Over at the pub Grace enchants the usually raucous customers with her songs of the Emerald
    Isle ,she stands on a chair as the rooms quiet hypnotises all present .Hers is a special magic ,
    hers is a power to quell the beast.

    Tommy lies in bed in the taught grip of Opium ,his nightmares of Flanders more prominent now,
    more potent than before ,they haunt him in an awakened state ,and they hold him fast in his
    dreams.

    Mad Danny also has nightmares ,but he tends to lose himself fully in his ,and on this occasion
    he plunges a knife through the heart of a local Italian restaurant owner whilst in the throes of
    such twisted distorted memories.

    Cut to first class compartment on train ,and we have our first meeting with a young Winston
    Churchill,Campbell tells Churchill that he plans to retrieve the guns and ammunition and bring
    swift and justice to those responsible. Churchill responds by mentioning his time in Belfast "I
    hear you broke a few Fenian hearts ,then in another slightly less of the cuff remark he informs
    him he was picked because he was effective ,but will do well to remember this is England not
    Belfast,and adds its imperative the stolen guns do not become tabloid news.

    Churchill ends the meeting with a warning ,that unlike Belfast, bodies will wash up on the shore
    here and if he is to persist with such a line of drastic actions then he should bury them in the
    deepest hole they can dig.

    Cut to the river where Tommy is having the guns transported to jettison them somewhere
    where suspicion will not fall on the Peaky Blinders. So as reliable Uncle Charlie tells Tommy
    of his intentions ...Tommy has changed his mind ,as his eyes flicker with ambition, a decidedly
    more dangerous twist than greed.

    Charlie tells him he's out of his fooking mind ,and reminds him of the army that's just followed
    Campbell up from Belfast .....Tommy coldly replies without a flicker of emotion "they've shown
    their hand now,they want them so bad they're going to have to pay to get them back".

    Campbell meets Grace Burgess ,she's a protestant in the lap of the corrupt English Government
    and Campbell suspects she is more than a little intrigued with Thomas Shelby. I would suspect
    he's right to be concerned as the chemistry between the two is potent ,especially with the
    intensely provocative eye contact the two regularly make.

    She tells him only the IRA could have purloined those guns ,and she firmly believes the Peaky
    Blinders are too lightweight to have pulled off something so inventive.

    It seems the IRA murdered her father and she has strong motives for implicating them in all of
    this ,Campbell tells her to stay close to Thomas Shelby and hands her a list of serial no.s to
    identify the guns and ammunition.

    We cut to the docks and seemingly its execution time ,Tommy's friend Danny is to be eliminated
    under the watchful eye of the Restaurant owners family and Tommy will carry this out.

    He tells Danny that if he leaves the retribution to the Italians they would cleave off his manhood
    and leave him to drain.....At this point a bullet to the back of the head seems more favourable.

    Anyway he tells Danny in order to prevent war breaking out with the Italians he must be seen
    to be implementing a form of justice,Danny replies "I died over there anyway Tommy"

    Any last requests he says ,look after my family and the boys ....A barge pulls near the edge
    as Tommy puts the gun to the back of Danny's head ,a gunshot echoes across the abandoned
    dockland as Tommys face is splattered with blood ....Deed done it seems,as Danny's body falls
    into the Barge directly in front of him. The two Italian observers are satisfied and disappear into
    the morning.

    Back in the bookies Arthur tells him Monaghan boy won ,to which Tommy defuses the argument
    with the words "Word will spread ,so next time we do the powder trick ,it will be the whole of
    Small Heath that will bet on it and it will probably win ,but the third time the whole of Birmingham
    will throw their hard earned wage on it and then it will lose ,because we will be ready "

    Arthur's silenced again ,younger brother a frugal and shrewd player it seems ,cut to the barge
    supposedly holding Danny's lifeless form. Only it seems Danny has nothing more than a headache
    It seems the whole business was just a charade only Danny wasn't privy to the outcome .

    "A bullet full of sheeps brains hurts bad" ,Uncle Charlie tells him ,and Tommy wanted it to look real
    so you learnt your lesson.

    Cut to the parlour and Aunt Polly balancing the books ,she tells Tommy there was a full moon
    and hopes he done the right thing ....Tommy's answer is to comply with the answer she wishes
    to hear ......fade to the dulcet tones of Nick Cave singing us out

  4. #4
    So here's the thing ,if a series or film doesn't retain my concentration with
    the same attention to detail and stellar writing it has primarily set out with
    in the first,then I tend to become restless.

    I started watching episode two and it opened with the older Shelby brother
    rallying the troops for an altercation with the Lee family with a speech to
    supposedly arouse the animal that as of yet has lain dormant in the bellies
    of the Shelby clan.... And even though the contrast between light and shade
    was more than visceral in the eventual fight scene, the scene that preceded
    it was so 'Bugsy Malone' it failed to hold my original fascination procured so
    efficiently by the first episode.

    The fight is actually integral to the contrivances of Tommy Shelby to gain the
    trust of Billy Kimber in order to formulate a blueprint towards the Shelby family
    eventually running Birmingham.

    I must say ,the scene in which Tommy confronts Inspector Campbell with his
    intentions and machinations towards gaining future control is handled and shot
    with breath taking brilliance,and both actors performances in this scene are
    exemplary.

    Albeit from the above ,Helen McCrory steals the show when she identifies the
    the ever so subtle bump in Ada's belly and associates this with pregnancy.
    What follows is a performance of such grace it leaves the rest shivering unclothed
    in its wake.

    I honestly think this is the year for miss McCrory as she commands both screen
    and daunting amounts of my attention when she strides effortlessly between
    composed and equable performances to ones sodden in severity to the point of
    hovering on the cusp of being almost Draconian.....All beautifully balanced by the
    uncompromising genius of Helen McCrory.

    I will endeavour to watch episode three when work allows ,but work has been
    demanding this month and I have a colossal amount of schedules to meet.

  5. #5

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    2nd series starts this week.
    From what i've read the Peaky Blinders are going to try and increase their empire down South but will surely come up against some strong opposition.

  6. #6

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    Really enjoyed the 2nd season.
    Peaky Blinders has without doubt become one of the best British dramas on TV.
    It really looked like it would be the end for Thomas Shelby this time but with some last mintue help managed to survive and return home.
    I enjoyed the introdution of the Jewish character Solomon and the nasty Italian gangster down in London.
    Grace also returned and is now with child but our gypsy hero has been bedding a well off lady horse trainer and will now have to choose between the two!
    Good news that there will be a 3rd series.
    Any one else enjoyed it?

  7. #7

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    Quote Originally Posted by Hams
    Really enjoyed the 2nd season.
    Peaky Blinders has without doubt become one of the best British dramas on TV.
    It really looked like it would be the end for Thomas Shelby this time but with some last mintue help managed to survive and return home.
    I enjoyed the introdution of the Jewish character Solomon and the nasty Italian gangster down in London.
    Grace also returned and is now with child but our gypsy hero has been bedding a well off lady horse trainer and will now have to choose between the two!
    Good news that there will be a 3rd series.
    Any one else enjoyed it?
    I've managed to watch the first two episodes ,and Tom Hardy is magnificent as the brooding Solomon ,Helen McCrory
    is once again flawless in her portrayal of Polly ,and Cillian Murphy is arguably one of Britain's most talented actors ,but
    for me where it fails is the casting of Sabini ,surely they could have procured a more believable actor in what was a role
    integral to the series ....I mean I don't wish to be too harsh on the fella ,but even through the expletives he hurls out with
    a real gusto,I just see 'Charlie Buckets' dad.

    So Tommy Shelby's expected demise in the culmination of this second series has been greatly exaggerated then Hams ?


  8. #8

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    I watched the end of this last night and thought it was brilliant, great acting and great music too. I have to agree about Sabini though, he felt too much like a caricature really, but it didn't really detract from the series. I'm really glad there are openings for another season.

  9. #9

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    Saw the first two seasons and thought it was very good. A much better early 20th century crime show than boardwalk empire. Some great acting in it as well

  10. #10

    Re: Peaky Blinders

    The 3rd series of this Birmingham based gangster drama gets back under way on BBC2 every Thursday night at 9 pm.

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