Based on the real Birmingham gang, Peaky Blinders has placed the Shelby family on an upwards trajectory, scheming against rival gangs and espionage plots to gain power, wealth and status. The last time we left the Shelbys, the family escaped one brother down from a vendetta plot by Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody), who came overseas with his mafia gang for the sweet taste of revenge. And with deception rife amongst their own ranks, the finale saw kingpin Tommy (Cillian Murphy) leverage his way into a seat in parliament, and banish his cousin Michael (Finn Cole) to the States to handle the American end of their bookie business.
Since they’ve been scheming and slicing people with razor blade caps from the very beginning, the Shelby family has been riding a rollercoaster that never stops going up. The question is, will there come a point when Tommy reaches the peak of the track, just to race down to the bottom once more? That catalyst comes in the form of the Wall Street crash, which forces the splintered family to reunite in Birmingham after they discover their invested shares are now worth pennies.
Meanwhile, Michael has succumbed to an American life of debauchery in Detroit along with his new wife Gina (Anya Taylor-Joy). Taylor-Joy is an elusive addition to the family. Her motivations are masqueraded by fur coats and a bold red lip, as if to deceive the in-laws as the stereotypically ditzy blonde American. But her devotion to Michael possibly foretells of a plot against the clan, who have branded the loyal cousin as untrustworthy. She is perhaps a femme fatale worth keeping your eye on.
The most towering foe might just be the bureaucracy of government. Tommy, who has long wielded his power to get away with just about anything, is faced with the dawning reality that his consequences have actions in the strait-laced halls of parliament. Fascism is also slowly crawling in with the arrival of Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), whose formality belies an ominous and menacing adversary for Tommy.
As the Peaky Blinders traverse up new levels of power in the world, season five demonstrates a growing ambition in the show's cinematic aesthetic too. Rest assured, the effortlessly cool slow-motion walks are still there, but the ways of old are complemented by unhinged Dutch angles and dramatic dolly zooms. Even as the Shelbys escalate into the echelons of high society, they are framed as deranged and reckless as ever.
‘There’s God, and there are the Peaky Blinders,’ Tommy says. The Shelbys have long ruled a land of their own making, but the world at large brings forth the realisation that they are lesser beings than the gods they aspire to be.
|What||Peaky Blinders season 5, BBC One review|
|Where||BBC One, BBC One | MAP|
25 Aug 19 – 25 Aug 20, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM