“'Cause we’re the bloody Peaky Blinders” may not be enough to win over the audience’s affection anymore. The first episode of the fourth series left little to be admired for a show that once was so gripping and affecting. Instead, we are left with a hollow shell of a program that was once so captivating.
Picking up where series three left off, the members of the Shelby family are lead to the gallows due to Tommy's business scheme. Although Tommy is able to save his family from the rope just in time, the bad bloody between them runs deep now, leaving Tommy estranged from his family. But the Peaky Blinders are forced to reunite when a black hand from the Italian mafia is sent as a death threat to the entire Shelby clan, claiming an eye for an eye.
Following a lukewarm third series, my hopes for series four were tempered at best. I held out a fleeting hope that maybe a fourth series would find its way back to the stunning programming that captured the brilliance of British filmmaking and storytelling. Instead, series four brings us an overly narrated, overly dramatic, and slightly stale version of the show it once was.
In the past, Peaky Blinders was a show that effortlessly captured the brooding atmosphere of the early 20th century Britain. The storylines were concise, intelligent, and, dare I say, elegant. It was a triumph of television. But now in its fourth series, the showrunners seem to have lost the energy and fierceness it once had. The new series is fraught with stale dialogue, excessive exposition, and family drama capable of the Real Housewives. The show has replaced its once intelligence and provoking dialogue for weak, characterless exposition that's pure purpose is to
Despite the show's suffering plot, it continues to triumph with its stunning production and cast. An iconic staple of Peaky Blinders, and probably the reason why the show is so affecting, is its stunning production. From the set dressings to the costumes to the cinematography and lighting, Peaky Blinders has always succeeded in bringing to life 1900s Birmingham. Although the plot lacked a transformative narration, the atmospheric production still has the ability to seize your senses and provide an affecting energy that brings the Shelby family strikingly to life. Ignoring the suffering story, Peaky Blinder's still embodies the best of British filmmaking and artistry, proving exactly why Britain produces the best costume dramas in the industry.
Peaky Blinders' main attraction has always been its outstanding cast, who continue to deliver series after series. One thing that will never get lost as Peak Blinders ages is the ferocity of its stellar cast. Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory have always been, and continue to be, the driving force behind this show. Murphy's portrayal of Tommy is cold and unwavering, showing how the world of organized crime has left him hardened. Yet, he still shows the sensitivity and care he has for his family, despite his intentions. McCrory brings a fieriness to the just as complicated Polly. Her performance is a marvel of brilliant acting; she creates a stunning aura around Polly, yet never lets her waiver to the men in her family. In addition to McCrory and Murphy, the remainder of the Peaky Blinders cast - Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, and Tom Hardy in particular - continue to impress. It's clear that what drives this show is the full-body character work of its extraordinary cast.
Peaky Blinders has had some blunders in recent years - and it's clear that the show may never return to its glory days of series one and two. But the show still captivates with its stunning production and exhilarating performances. I just wished for something better from the show that once left my jaw dropped from its utter brilliance.
Peaky Blinders airs on BBC Two Wednesday nights at 9