AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Peaky Blinders (2013)

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I recently discovered a new BBC television series called Peaky Blinders. I was a bit gutted as I had missed it’s showing on television, and it’s turned out to be a great show, thus far.

Set after the first world war, in 1919 Birmingham, the Shelby’s run a ‘gang’ by the name of the Peaky Blinders. The name coming from the razor blades sewn into the peaks of their flat caps. Led by Thomas Shelby played by Cillian Murphy, who’s acting is rather surprising as he seems more sinister and darker in this than what I’m used to seeing. At the start of series, the Shelby’s although governed by Thomas Shelby, their Aunt Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) has a certain dominance over the Thomas and Arthur, as a matriarchal figure in this television series.

Anyway, the main storyline throughout the series is set out from the start, Tommy organised a crate to be stolen, but contains the wrong item. The item in question is a set of guns that were destined for Libya, however, Tommy wants to bargain with C. I Chester Campbell using the guns as his bargaining chip. Chester Campbell (Sam Neill – Which annoyed me as I couldn’t figure out where I had seen him before until about episode 3) had been sent from Belfast, after his successful raid on the IRA in Belfast, on orders from Winston Churchill to retrieve the stolen shipment of guns, and rid of the communism that is brewing in Birmingham.

Peaky Blinders

The intertwining of the stories of Tommy trying to expand his empire across Birmingham, Chester Campbell trying to eradicate the gangs from Birmingham and also the domination of the seedy underbelly in Birmingham, is rather intoxicating and I have a personal interest in these certain gangster flicks and shows like Boardwalk Empire and Public Enemies, although according to the writers no references were played to Boardwalk Empire and shows of similar nature, which is rather interesting as they can draw similarities in the shooting styles.

My only strive with this series I would admit, is the soundtrack. It’s apt for the mood of the film, but not time period appropriate, considering the more than impressive set, time appropriate music may have given a bigger immersion into 1919 Birmingham. And of course, there are some stunning direction involved, including the Peaky Blinders putting their names to use fighting against Gypsies. As seen below.

0189-pb-19sep12-LST122522

Overall, this is a brilliant short television series, compressed into six hour long segments and the story builds with Cillian leading the charge of the Peaky Blinders. It’s rife with action of course, which is expected, considering the implications behind the show. It’s probably more recommendable if you do enjoy the shows like Boardwalk Empire and the films like Public Enemies and Gangs of New York as although differing in storylines the enjoyment factor is similar to these titles, I found. The depth in the sets gives the television a more mesmerising appeal, I cannot comment on the storyline though unfortunately as I’ve not completed the series, but as it stands the intertwining of the stories is riveting as there are more than one storyline to follow. A definite recommendation though, of course.

If you’ve seen the show, let me know what you think in the comment section!

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

One thought on “Peaky Blinders (2013)

  1. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful.
    Thanks for sharing!

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