Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 5 (2019)

Yes, I finally got the opportunity to catch up. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know that I’m a big fan of this show. I’ve reviewed every season (*not so subtle nod*), and I’ve loved each and every one of them. So now we got the question: Does the latest outing land on that list, or is it somehow a big pile of disappointment? Let’s have a look.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Peaky Blinders” season 5.

1929. Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) tries to balance his life as a politician with keep tabs on his family business, all the while antagonistic forces, including fellow politician Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), fight against his every move. More scheming, more violence… more “Peaky Blinders”. And I’ll be up front about my thoughts, I loved the plot this season. There’s a lot going on, making episodes feel very dense, but it’s handled in such a smooth and clever way that you never get lost. The tone also feels darker and more dire than before, partly due to it being set during one of the toughest times in modern history (the depression), but partly also because it focuses so heavily on Tommy’s rapidly deteriorating mental state. There wasn’t ever really a moment in the season where it felt like I could figure out what was gonna happen next, due to clever and subversive drama that was brought to life by the spectacular writing. I was on the edge of my seat for all six episodes, and I adored every minute of it.

The characters of season 5 are just as flawed, nuanced, human, and interesting as they’ve ever been… maybe even more so, due to developments in the previous season and in this one. Seeing Tommy go so far down in the abyss this season was enrapturing, and Cillian Murphy is once again fucking amazing in the role. Arthur has possibly had the biggest arc in the entire show, and it’s interesting to see him at this point in his life, wonderfully portrayed once again by Paul Anderson. Helen McCrory is still an absolute badass as Aunt Polly. Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole, and Harry Kirton all kill it once again in their roles. Aidan Gillen was once again great as Aberama Gold. Let’s talk newcomers. First up we have Sam Claflin as Oswald Mosley, who apparently was a very real person. Now, I can’t speak to how accurate Claflin’s portrayal was to the real deal, as I am neither old nor British. I can however talk about his role in the show. He’s a level-headed, scheming, and highly intelligent conservative politician, clashing with Tommy’s ideology and work at multiple points, making him a most dangerous opponent, even without guns or violence. And Claflin is great in the role. Then we got Anya Taylor-Joy as Gina, the recent wife of Finn Cole’s character Michael. It’s not clear at first what purpose she’ll serve within the show’s dramatic developments, but soon enough you’ll find out, and she’s made an intriguing part of the cast. And Taylor-Joy does a good job in the role. The entire cast is fucking great, yo.

As with previous seasons of “Peaky Blinders”, season 5 relies on a lot of licensed music to add to its storytelling, mainly within the hard rock and blues-rock genres. When I first heard it back in the day, I was very much taken aback by it. But now it’s so ingrained in the show’s identity for me that I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are also a few tracks made for the show, brought to us by Anna Calvi, and those are good too.

Series creator Steven Knight handled writing for all the episodes, with Anthony Byrne handling direction on all six episodes, and Si Bell doing the cinematography. And the craft is the best the show has ever given us. Plenty of impressive camera movements suck us further into the character drama, with some gorgeous wide shots on occasion to make us go “Wow!”. The show’s always been impressive from a craft standpoint, but they’ve truly stepped up their game this time around.

The show/season has of course been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it… exists. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.8/10 and is ranked #54 on the “Top 250” tv list.

I think it comes as a surprise to absolutely fucking no one when I say that I loved season 5 of “Peaky Blinders”. It’s a darker season that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout all of it, furthering my investment in the characters. It has a great plot, fantastic characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season 5 is a 10/10 (fuck yeah). So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Peaky Blinders” season 5 is now completed.

If you haven’t (for whatever reason) watched this show, THEN BY ORDER OF THE PEAKY FOOKIN’ BLINDERS, YOU WILL.

Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 4 (2017)

As some of you might know, I have reviewed the previous three seasons of this shows before (nudge nudge, wink wink), and I honestly loved them all. So I was of course excited for the fourth season. So now that I’ve finally watched it I can give you my thoughts on it. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Peaky Blinders” season 4.

It’s christmastime, and everybody is trying to enjoy the holidays. But when Tommy (Cillian Murphy) receives a letter he realizes that his family will be in danger. So he has to bring the family together so they can defend themselves against their newest foe: A group of American gangsters led by the dangerous Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody). So now we have our Peaky plot. And it’s still great. The plot here is tense, dramatic, filled with twists and turns, and never failed in keeping me engaged. There’s an air of mistrust and unease after the end of season 3 across the entirety of this season, and it adds so much to the quality of it all. So yeah, this is a great plot.

I’m not gonna go too in-depth with the main/returning players here, since I’ve talked about them so much in my previous reviews. But I can say that they’re all damaged here, and they’re all a bit different since the end of the previous season, adding another compelling side to them. Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, Sophie Rundle, Harry Kirton, Joe Cole, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Kate Phillips, Ned Dennehy… they’re all fantastic. Now for some of the newer people. As mentioned earlier, this season introduces Adrien Brody as Luca Changretta, an Italian-American gangster who’s coming for Tommy and the others. He’s a ruthless, cunning, and calculating villain. And Adrien Brody is inconsistent in the role. The writing itself is great, and there are moments where he can be quite menacing. But at a lot of points his delivery is almost like a caricature of Marlon Brando in “The Godfather”. It doesn’t take away too much from the show, but it is quite noticeable. Then we get Aidan Gillen as Aberama Gold, a Romani Gypsy that Tommy starts working with after the Italians make their entrance. He’s a clever and cool man who got a few tricks up his sleeve. And Gillen is really good in the role. And then of course we see the return of Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons for a bit. And he’s as awesome as ever. There are more actors throughout the season, but if I get too in-depth I might accidentally spoil stuff and also be here all night. But let it be known that this is overall very well acted.

The music here is interesting as there are some tracks composed specifically for it by Martin Slattery and Antony Genn. And those tracks are great. But let’s face it, everybody is here for the licensed rock tracks used throughout. And if this is your first time hearing about this, let me quickly explain. “Peaky Blinders”, despite being a period drama, has rock music in it… and it fucking works. Anthing from Nick Cave to Johnny Cash to Arctic Monkeys to a fuckload of other ones… and it works surprisingly well. All the music here’s great and it all works well within the show.

The show was created by Steven Knight, and he wrote all the episodes this season. And all the episodes here were directed by David Caffrey, who I think did a damn good job. He captures that gritty yet stylish “Peaky” flair that has been in all the seasons so far. And the cinematography by Cathal Watters is fantastic. There’s also some action in this show, and it’s tense and exciting. And really violent. ’tis awesome.

This show/season has been well received (from the little data I can gather on my usual sites). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists but has no real score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #57 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Yeah, season 4 of “Peaky Blinders” was great. Had a slight nitpick, but nothing to break it for me. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Like I said, I found Brody to be a bit inconsistent here, but it doesn’t ruin it for me. Just takes me a tiny bit out of it at some moments. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season 4 is a 9,60/10. This means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Peaky Blinders” season 4 is now completed.

PEAKY FOCKIN’ BLOINDEHS!

Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 3 (2016)

As some of you might know, I reviewed season one and two a while back (*nudge nudge wink wink*). And if you have any memory of that happening, then you might remember that I pretty much loved those seasons. So I’m super excited to finally review the third season for you guys. So here we go!

Ladies and gents… “Peaky Blinders” season 3!

The year is 1924 and everything seems to be looking up for Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Business is going well and he’s finally getting married. However, he soon finds himself getting into the fray once again when he has to start dealing with Russians, Italians, and a priest (Paddy Considine) with powerful connections. And I thought the plot here this season was really good. And while not quite as tense and unpredictable as the previous seasons, it still retains most of the intrigue and dramatic heft that one can expect from the show at this point. The season does go to some really dark and slightly messed up places at times too which really helps keep the plot of “Peaky Blinders” well above most shows out there.

The characters have always been a highlight of the show, and this season is no exception. Cillian Murphy of course returns as Thomas Shelby, the head of the Shelby family/business, and he is still the damaged and layered man we’ve come to know. And Cillian Murphy is once again fantastic in the role. Helen McCrory returns as Aunt Polly, and she is still one of the best female characters out there. And McCrory is of course fantastic in the role. Paul Anderson returns as Arthur Shelby, the rough-around-the-edges brother of Thomas, this time getting some more development than in previous seasons. And Anderson is fantastic in the role. Joe Cole returns as John Shelby, Thomas’ younger brother, and he’s great in the role. Ned Dennehy, Ian Peck, Sophie Rundle, Annabelle Wallis, all return and they’re all great. Tom Hardy also makes a return as Alfie Solomons, and while he isn’t in this season a whole lot, he’s still one of the best parts of it. Now, let’s talk about the newcomer worth talking about: Paddy Considine. I’ve been a fan of him for a while now, and seeing him in here as a sneaky priest was interesting. His character is really interesting and Considine is great in the role. Really, the acting here is terrific.

Like in previous season, there is no real identifiable original score that we can properly talk about. But instead we once again get a soundtrack consisting mainly of rock songs from the past 20 – 25 years or so. There are also a couple newer songs too that are hard to pin a genre on, but still work really well in this show. That is something I want to mention: When imagining a gangster show set in 1920s Birmingham one woudln’t think a rock-based soundtrack would work, but it somehow does. Give the person responsible for picking the songs a fucking raise.

This show was created by Steven Knight, and all episodes this season were directed by Tim Mielants, who I think did a great job. His direction is very tight and helps create a tense and good mood that elevates the show quite a bit. It’s also a visually arresting show… just thought I’d mention that. Also, this show is bloody/violent and features nudity, so if you’re one of those wimps who can’t stomach that stuff in movies and TV, you have been warned.

This show has been very well received, but this season is fucking impossible to say with since it has no score on the sites I usually use. Sure, it exists on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it has no score on there. And on imdb.com the show (no seasonal average) has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #66 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Peaky Blinders” season 3 is great… not much else I can say. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season 3 is a 9,71/10. So yeah, it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Peaky Blinders” season 3 is now completed.

Mumble mumble mumble mumble fuck mumble. That is how Tom Hardy sounds in this show and it’s so much fun.

Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 2 (2014)

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As you probably know, I did recently review the first season of this show about three weeks back. And if so you probably also remember that I really fucking enjoyed it. So now I guess it’s time to review the second season.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the second season of… “Peaky Blinders”.

1921, two years after the end of season one we once again follow gang leader Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as he’s trying to keep the gang running. But since some time has passed he feels like he wants to expand his reach a bit. And for that to happen he has to strike a deal with another gangster named Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). But Tommy will still face trouble with local mob boss Daryl Sabini (Noah Taylor). He also has to face the return of Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) who now has even more of a grudge against Tommy. And with all of these things, there is definitely a noticeable raise in stakes for the season together with a huge increase in dramatic tension… and I absolutely loved it so much. There is so much more happening in the episodes yet nothing feels forced or unnecessary, every little bit of story here fits perfectly into the bigger picture. There are even a few twists and turns at times in the season and they work really well too. As you might tell, I really loved the plot/story of this season.

The characters are once again great, with the ones returning from season one getting some really good character development. CIllian Murphy is once again great as Thomas Shelby, Paul Anderson knocked it out of the park again as Arthur, Helen McCrory is amazing as Polly, Sam Neill is still great as Campbell even if his accent still is on-and-off. Then we have one new addition I just have to talk about, Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons… holy shit, he is so great in the role. He not only gives a great overall performance, but he is also so entertaining and funny which really added something to this season. I also like how he was almost as profane as me. Every actor was great, every character was great, all of that was great.

Once again there was no original score composed for the show. Instead the creators opted for a mix of a lot of contemporary rock/pop/metal songs that could kind of work in some weird way… and they were right about that. And while it’s still weird to hear songs like “Out of the Black” by Royal Blood or “Do I wanna know” by Arctic Monkeys in a gangster show set in 1920’s Birmingham, it still does work in some weird fuckin’ way. I do think the soundtrack was really good. And just like in season one, Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” serves as the show’s main theme and it’s still great to hear even if it is in cover/remix form from time to time.

The cinematography for season two is really good, just like in season one. Sure, the directing is for the most part pretty standard, but the cinematography itself is great. And the writing is really solid too, with tons of interesting little quirks and terrific lines. What I also found interesting is how this season upped the ante in terms of… most things. It’s more violent, it shows more nudity, it has even more cursing… things that might divide some audiences. For me… it kind of made sense.

Seeing as this is a British show, it hasn’t got too muich attention on my regular sites. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com the show has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #86 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Peaky Blinders” takes everything that was good/great about the first season and somehow makes it even better. The plot is better, the characters are more developed, the soundtrack features new & interesting songs, the cinematography is great and of course Tom Hardy is really fucking entertaining. Time for my final score. FOCKIN’ ‘ELL! My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season two is a 9,91/10. IT most certainly gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

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

Wait… so I have to wait until October until season 3? God damn it!