Creator: Steven Knight
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Sam Neil. Helen McCrory
Year Released: 2013
Set in the city of Birmingham, England in the early 20th century, and focusing on the fictionalized actions of the historical Peaky Blinders gang, Peaky Binders is a BBC production released on Netflix for US audiences. Cillian Murphy steals the show as, Tommy Shelby, leader of the family and local street gang with dreams of running an empire. Sam Neill is, Chest Campbell, the hard-nosed Chief Inspector sent from Ireland to break up the criminal network, at any cost. Even though season 2 has premiered, I am only going to comment on season 1 in this review.
The majority of this season revolves around Tommy Shelby and Chest Campbell, as Tommy is working to establish an empire he encounters the Chief Inspector at every turn, each determined to remove the other from the scenario. There are moments between the two where a level of respect and admiration are plain, but at the end of the day each one wants to see their names written down in the history books and will stop at nothing to see that happen.
Violence is a tool for the Peaky Blinders, but Tommy is smart enough to know that a tool is only as useful as the man that wields it and only a master craftsman can use a tool in a way that it was meant to be used. His tools are the men that make up his gang and his raw material are the street of Birmingham. Every craftsman needs a workshop though, and when Tommy takes over The Garrison we see the first demonstration of power that the Peaky Blinders possess, and the influence and charisma of Tommy Shelby becomes paramount.
Of course this also means that unwanted attention is garnered, and that attention provokes anger and jealousy. Not only does Tommy have to worry about the law now, but rival gangs that fear the loss of their might to the upstart street urchins that were recently of no threat to them. But rivalries are the bread and butter of gangland dramas, even if they involve gypsy and Italians.
There is romance as well, but to get into that would mean a lot of spoilers, and I just don’t like doing that to people. Suffice to say, if you enjoy a hot sex scene and romantic drama is your thing, you will not be disappointed.
Cillian Murphy shines as the natural born leader of the Peaky Blinders, his aspirations would seem lofty if it weren’t for his smile and determination. It is clear looking into his eyes that nothing will stop him from protecting his family, his men and his dreams of being a major player in the organized crime world of England. I am anxious for season 2 and highly recommend this show to anyone that is a fan of dramatic crime families, intense drama or even violent mob shows.