When Peaky Blinders was first broadcasted on BBC One back in 2013, it was thought to be just another show clad with gangsters and violence that would quietly exist for a short while. Fast forward six years and Steven Knight’s series about the Birmingham bookmakers has reached levels of recognition that both creators and cast could never have imagined. Its newest season, while not one of the strongest, continues to command the attention of viewers with its complex plot, political intrigue, a now infamous soundtrack and aerie atmosphere – coupled with a good dose of guns and murder. The perfect recipe.
The intricate shots and alluring cinematography continue to be rooted deep in the heart of Peaky Blinders. The show is praised for its atmospheric, complex shots, its quotable dialogue and attention to detail. Knight has an undeniable talent in storytelling and the elaborate weaving of plotlines that is also showcased by his characters; be it new additions or recurring roles, big or small. They command attention and fit into the show like a puzzle piece you never thought was missing.
Following the theme of time jumps, Season 5 kicks off after the stock market crash of 1929, the beginning of The Great Depression, which sends even the mighty Shelby Limited Company down on its knees. With the company on the brink of bankruptcy, the Shelby family goes back to its roots of fixing races, drug dealing, the occasional murder, and questionable alliances as politics take centre stage. However, this time they have bigger enemies to deal with: the Italians and the Russians.
Enter Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin). As every season introduces an opponent for Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), this time around we have one of the most crafted and evil characters the show has ever introduced. Despite all the blood, gunpowder and violence, Claflin’s performance as the fascist MP will chill you to the bones.. In Season 5, while still a decade away from the dawning of the Second World War, signs of the developing fascist and nationalist movements that led the world to chaos are increasingly evident, as Tommy finds himself torn between choosing fortune and power, or doing the right thing.
A recurring theme this season is the Shelby boys’ flailing mental state. We have had snippets of Tommy’s unstable state teased to us for so many seasons, but here, we get a clear insight to his suffering. We start with him being shaken and delirious, haunted by memories of war and his dead wife, and over the course of the Season, we see Tommy pushed the brink of madness.
While the story is usually centred on the Shelby family, in a time where they are most powerful, we see them unravelling. Thomas’ mental undoing is more prominent than ever, Arthur’s untamed nature returns to the surface, and the inner untangling of the Shelby family becomes a possible reality as Michael Gray (Finn Cole) comes back from America with a wife and a different outlook towards the business.
It was an eventful season to say the least. The last episode was one of the best conclusions to a season that the show has created in a while, ending on a terrifying, morose note that surely sent its millions of fans in a frenzy. However, it does set up a clear view of what we should be expecting of the next season and there are a lot of things to dread and anticipate. The question is, though, whether Thomas will succeed in taking down his biggest enemy yet. Or will he find his downfall by the hand of his own people?
Image Credit: MovieDB