The above article is review of the Netflix show Peaky Blinders that I think is pretty much right on the money. The article acknowledges that although there is really nothing new at the core of the show, the execution of everything, from the acting to the sets, succeed in making it worth watching. There are some minor quibbles I have with the soundtrack at certain points, as stylized shots with modern songs playing glamorize the violence sometimes in ways that aren’t needed. (It would be far better if the violence was always portrayed as horrific and brutal as it would fit the themes of the show better. Most of the violence on this show is portrayed in a barbarous way, but occasionally it does dip into Guy Ritchie territory, which seems out of place.) There are also moments of coincidence that can briefly take you out of the action as they expose the seems of the writing. The article above compares the show to Deadwood, and I think that is a fair comparison thematically, although this show doesn’t even come close to matching the writing of Deadwood. (Deadwood is the best show of modern times, with writing on par with the best of literature.)
However, these things aside, I do like Peaky Blinders. It is an extremely entertaining show. I do think the acting, the set design, the costumes, and the cinematography are top notch. I do think, especially in the first season, that it has themes and ideas that takes it beyond mere entertainment. The way that society perpetuates violence is interestingly addressed. The violence that these working class men carry out is partially the result of the violence that they were forced carry out during the war. The show seems to be saying that violence, once introduced to society, is a cancer that we are stuck with, long after the fighting of war is over. The ruling class sends these men to do horrible things in the trenches, only to condemn them when they bring their new “skill set” home.
Anyway, I more than commenting on it myself I wanted to point you in the direction of the above article, because I do think the writer, despite a few minor quibbles, does a good job of conveying the merits of this show. (I think Tom Hardy’s performance in Season 2 is one of hat season’s highlights.) I myself will look forward to watching Season 3 whenever that comes out.
Addition: I don’t exactly mean to criticize something by comparing it to Guy Ritchie. Although there is no doubt that some of the things he has done are shite (Sherlock Holmes movies!), some of his early films are at least fun entertainment, that have their own style and energy. I don’t mind things being just entertainment. My point is that in this show, the more choreographed moments of violence do not fit the overall mood, and it takes me outside the world of the show, a world of which I find myself fully immersed in for the most part.