Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 1 (2013)

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I don’t know why, but I find myself incredibly fascinated by British history. Whether it’d be in the early 1000’s or much later like during WW2… the Brits seem to always have some interesting history to them. So it didn’t come as a surprise (more than a year ago) that I would find myself interested in a show about British gangsters. Questions is though… would the show be any good? Now  that I finally have sat down to watch the first season of this show, I am ready to tell you.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Peaky Blinders”.

This show is set in 1919 Birmingham and follows a gang called the peaky blinders and it’s leader Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and how he’s trying to hold this gang together with members of his family. But he runs into some trouble because of an Irish detective (Sam Neill) who comes to town because of some stolen guns, which the blinders are accused of stealing. And I will not say anything else because there is a lot of elements to the plot of this show that I don’t wanna spoil since they are interesting and needs to be experienced. That’s right, I do think that the plot for the show is really great. The plot has the right amount of drama without being dreary while also pacing itself perfectly. A lot of it thanks to the excellent writing of the show and the surprising amount of suspense built from the events and character interactions.

The characters in this show are all perfectly fleshed out and they’re all very interesting. What’s also great is that you get to know them all very well in the very first episode which is something a lot of shows don’t manage. Cillian Murphy is fantastic as Tommy Shelby, a gang leader who just the year before had been in the war, so you can expect him to be a little bit broken. And Murphy absolutely captures this perfectly. Sam Neill as the detective coming to Birmingham does a terrific job too, playing a man who is both despicable and sympathetic. I mean, the guy is technically just doing his job even though he does it in a less than morally correct way. Sure, his Irish accent can be a bit off on occasion, but his performance overall is great. British actor Paul Anderson plays Tommy’s brother, Arthur and he is absolutely terrific as well. The final one I wanna mention is Annabelle Wallis who plays Grace, a barmaid at the bar Tommy owns. Yeah, she’s fucking great in her role too. Every actor’s great in their role. Nothing more to say about that.

What is interesting to note about the soundtrack for the show is that they pullex a Tarantino for it. What I mean by that is that they used a mix of songs from anything ever, whether it’d be from some rock band or tracks from other movies. A large chunk of it I noticed had something to do with Nick Cave. Either it would be a song from his career (both solo and with The Bad Seeds) or it would be from a movie he had composed for with Warren Ellis. Sure, there were some other bands too like The White Stripes, but it was mostly Nick Cave-related. Hell, the theme song for the show is “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Sidenote: One of the few Nick Cave songs I genuinely like). But yeah, even though I would say it’s a weird soundtrack for a historical movie I do think it works for this show. I guess it’s because of the songs used being chosen well enough by the crew working on the show.

This show was created by Steven Knight who also directed the movie “Locke”, a movie I really enjoyed. He also wrote the movie “Eastern Promises” which I coincidentally reviewed yesterday. And while he didn’t direct any episodes of this show, he did write some of them. And like I said, the writing in the show is terrific. And the directing from the different people who took on that mantle is great. Some shots do look pretty standard, but then there are scenes where the cinematography just looks absolutely beautiful.

This bit is usually the easiest one for me since I basically just have to state what I read off of my regular sites. But this time it is slightly different since it hasn’t gotten the same mainstream attention as other shows. I will say then that Metacritic is out of the game. On Rotten Tomatoes however the season has an 86% positive rating. And on imdb.com the show overall has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #86 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Peaky Blinders” is an excellent British show with a great story, fantastic acting, a great soundtrack, great directing and great writing. Time for my final score. Bloody hell. My final score for season 1 of “Peaky Blinders” is a 9,90/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of the first season of “Peaky Blinders” is now completed.

Razor blades in the front of the cap? Sure, why not?

3 thoughts on “Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 1 (2013)

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