RocketReviews: Peaky Blinders (NETFLIX)

Peaky Blinders Trailer (No Spoilers)

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The Set-Up

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’re in the market for a Netflix series with grit, passion and dynamic storytelling then you’re in for a treat. From across the pond comes Peaky Blinders. A British crime family drama set in post World War I, Birmingham, England detailing the exploits and rise of the Shelby family.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, is the leader of the Peaky Blinders, a hive-minded organization whose notorious affairs are loyally supported by the symbiotic relationship between Thomas and brothers Arthur, John, Ada and Finn. Helen McCrory as family matriarch Polly Gray – their aunt by lineage is advisor to Tommy and treasurer of the gang.

You may recognize Cillian Murphy from his role in The Dark Knight Rises as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow and from Inception as Robert Fischer.

He’s a versatile actor who convincingly delivers the on-screen charisma necessary to bring the bold and incessantly ambitious Tommy Shelby to life.

Watching Cillian Murphy in a lead role gave me the opportunity to experience his range as a character actor as Tommy struts fearless yet stylishly through Birmingham’s streets donning his distinctive peaked tweed cap, wool overcoat and tweed and flannel suits that were “on the house or the house burns down.”

Don’t look for style in the form of color at all. The panache of the attire is embedded in patterns of vintage stripes, houndstooth, and thick glen checks which are all murderously monochromatic.

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The Meat & Potatoes

As I watched I felt as if I had become “part of the gang”, vested in the interests of Thomas to elevate his control of the bleak and vulnerable English landscape.

I also found myself audibly cursing his antagonist Chief Inspector Major Chester Campbell played by Sam Neill.

Now let’s get into the “Chief Inspector”…

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Major Campbell is a detective in the Royal Irish Constabulary assigned by Winston Churchill to cleanse Birmingham’s streets of gangs, communists, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and anyone else engaging in nefarious activities. Think of him as Batman but without the mask, cape, gadgets, car…ok as I think about it, nothing at all like Batman and much much more like the Joker.

Cold and calculated. He never fails to creep into the story in a vendetta type-of-mood. His character specializes in driving any light the tale temporarily captures to dark, shadowy places where even the most fearless men rather not be.


The Wrap-Up

Peaky Blinders is not just a gangster tale. It’s about family, passion, personal agendas, political conflict and corruption. The characters are real and believable. The performances are deeply engaging. The sets are authentic, moody and atmospheric. If you need a new Netflix series to fall in love with then watch Peaky Blinders.

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Official Title: Peaky Blinders

Network: Netflix

Original Network: BBC Two

Seasons: 3 (Series 4 begins filming this month)

Genre: Historical Fiction (period piece)

Created/Written by: Steven Knight

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Sam Neil, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, (full cast)