The Peaky Blinders face their deadliest adversary yet in season 4: The New York Mafia.
There’s something about a show or movie being based on true events that hook me right in. When I first heard about Peaky Blinders, I consumed every moment of it in a Netflix minute (about 7 hours of binging eating pizza and washing it down with orange soda.) After that last gripping minute of Series 2, I needed to know more about this show. So I hopped on the old google machine and found out they were based on a real life crew from Birmingham, England.
For instance, the very name and meaning of Peaky Blinders differs from the one in reality and the on the show. On the show, their caps have razors sewn into them and in a quick pinch they can use them to blind their enemies. In reality, however, the name of the cap was Peaky and they dressed so stylish it was blinding. Kind of soft for a bunch of street toughs.
No matter. Writer and creator, Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Taboo), has pretty much rewritten history with the Shelby family and I’m all in. With the 4th series he makes the shortlist of best TV shows of 2017. Here’s why you should catch up with the boys from Birmingham.
#1 – Stellar Cast
Cillian Murphy is at his best as Thomas Shelby. Everything he does from the simple to the complex makes for a believable anti-hero. His thousand yard, blue eyed, icy marble stare; slight hunch and arms ever wide to make himself seem larger than he really is; every step carrying purpose he’s the perfect leader for a gang of this caliber. When this man walks into a room you better have all your cards straightened out.
Joining him in season 4 is Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire) as Aberama Gold, A Gypsy so volatile that even other exiled gypsies refuse to associate with him. His acting prowess proceeds him and his role in Peaky is no exception. When he’s first introduced, it seems like he’s getting revenge on the Stark siblings for the last episode of Game of Thrones. I can’t blame him.
Adrien Brody’s Luca Changretta could be dropped into any scene in the Godfather movies and no one would know the difference. This man sends chills down my spine and makes me feel like he’s lurking right outside my door waiting for me to write one negative word about him. Suffice it to say I won’t. When you have Thomas Shelby with his head on a swivel you know you you’re a certified bad ass.
Rejoining the cast this season is the main man Tom Hardy aka Bane aka Eames aka the most fearsome jewish warrior since Eli Roth’s ‘bearjew’ in Inglorious Basterds, Alfie Solomons. With his cut to the chase, no nonsense manner of speaking and solid force of loyal clergymen he brings the heat to Birmingham. He had tough as nails Arthur Shelby a mess of jelly and piss in season 2 so who knows what this wild card will pull this season.
Combine all of these men in one room, grab some popcorn and enjoy the fireworks. There’s about to be a goddamn SHOW!
#2 – Great Rivalries
Throughout TV and film history bad blood with The Mafia is no joke. While The Peaky Blinders have faced off against the parliament and Russian Royalty, there’s nothing like the wrath of the Italian Mob. Especially when avenging the death of one of their own. With the help of another crossed Sicilian, Sabini, Changretta basically has the Shelby family dead to rights. Safe to say not everyone will survive this season.
We also have a union strike led by Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy), which may just put Shelby Company Limited out of business. The only avenue Tommy has to go legitimate is a threat he won’t take lightly.
Add to that a true David Vs. Goliath match-up between Aberama Gold’s son, Bonnie and Alfie Solomons’ welter weight champ and you have an explosive finale that’s sure to be a knockout.
There’s also Alfie Vs. Tommy in prohibition era United States. Will Tommy’s Gin corner the speakeasy market? Or will Alfie reign supreme with his intoxicating rum?
#3 – The women keeping the Shelby Family Together
‘I think you are the one who keeps Thomas Shelby alive.’, Says Aberama Gold to Polly (superb actress Helen McCrory). And he couldn’t be more right. Pol is a force to be reckoned with from jump street. She goes through hell for her family, cutting down the devil himself if need be. She’ll do anything for them maybe even cutting a deal with that same devil.
Another one who’s ride or die is Arthur Shelby’s wife Linda (Kate Philips). She got her man sober and on the straight and narrow. She’ll have to give her all to keep save him from himself this season because he’s back to his old drunkard ways. Hopefully if she doesn’t get fed up with the Shelby family, he’ll be around for the long haul with her help.
Ada Shelby (Sophie Rundle), a reformed socialist, has to help keep the strike from continuing in order to save Shelby Company Ltd. Led by Jessie Eden has proved herself formidable and that’s a huge problem Tommy can’t get fix alone. He’ll need lots of help from Ada, who has already given up her body for Tommy once before.
#4 – A look into a bygone era
Gypsies, World War I and even hints at the proceeding World War II are rife throughout the series. You get a mini history lesson every time you turn on an episode. It’s fantastic. I wish I had this alternative to books when I was studying in High School! I wouldn’t have forgotten the dullest of events. Even Churchill has dealings with the Shelby family and has begun to crack down on them hard. Life won’t be easy for the Peaky Blinders in Birmingham if he has his say so!
You can learn how life was like on the ground during the Bolshevik Revolution, which I’ve never given a first (or second thought) until I started watching this show. If you’re into global history, this is a definite plus here.
BONUS – The music
1923 England + 21st Century tunes = perfection. From the above Arctic Monkeys – Do I wanna know? To the opening theme (and various cover versions) of Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, they nail it with such a flair it blows my mind. Part of watching a story arc come to a head is hearing some glorious rock riff synced up with the heart stopping action.
There isn’t anything like this anywhere. Not on TV, other streaming sites or current cinema. Peaky Blinders picks up where Boardwalk Empire and the Sopranos left off. I can promise you that you won’t be as confused as audiences were walking out of The Last Jedi. So grab a bottle of Tommy’s sweet gin and start your Netflix minute. By order of the Peaky Fookin Blindahs!!
All seasons now streaming on Netflix.