TV Review – Peaky Blinders Series 5

There are few television shows that improve with each additional series. Many become strung out and repetitive, staggering desperately into their eight or ninth season. However, Peaky Blinders is one of those few TV gems that, like a fine red wine, only gets better with age.

Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson and Helen McCrory return as the infamous Birmingham gangsters, now expanding their business into the US. Not only have the Shelby’s extended their territory, they have also branched out into a new trade. From bookkeeping to gin-making, the Peaky Blinders have a sparkling new hobby: politics. But don’t yawn just yet. The Shelby’s are as gun-blazing and street-brawling as ever.

Tommy and his gang strut into series 5 with immediate success. Their slow-motion sashays, paired with a theatrical soundtrack, add to the drama of a dysfunctional family on the brink of financial collapse. Season five centres around the Wall Street Crash of 1929, diving headfirst into the nitty-gritty feuding within the first five minutes.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby

Our anti-hero remains iconically cool, delivering some satisfying blows to those who stand in the way of our favourite characters. Thrilling and intense, director Anthony Byrne has pulled off the first few episodes with a bang.

As Peaky Blinders remains as slick and confident as it’s always been, the technical elements of the show have upped their game. Cinematographer Si Bell and editor Paul Knight get creative with the camera work, using contra zooms and slow-motion to push the boundaries of a standard BBC drama. Though the writing and acting is already enough to grip fans, some interesting cinematography really aids in building atmosphere, character and intensity. Something the Peaky Blinders are all about.

Not for the faint-hearted, Peaky Blinders has exceeded its reputation for violence. Some viewers have criticized the show for its gory brutality and heavy political motives, with even Helen McCrory (Polly Shelby) admitting she couldn’t watch the whole thing.

However, others argue violence to be a necessity in a show focused on a notorious post-war gang. Especially considering the shows origins: the real-life razer-wearing gangster Billy Fullerton, who terrorized Glasgow during the 1920s, was an apparent inspiration for the Peaky Blinders image.

Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby

A handful of new characters are introduced to us alongside our beloved Shelby’s. Sam Claflin delivers a promising introduction as the villainous Oswald Mosley, while Anna Taylor-Joy is suspected to play an important role later on in the show. Having progressed through five seasons already, the actors have managed to build and solidify their characters, creating a strong foundation to develop from.

Although Peaky Blinders only aired a couple of days ago, the show already smacks with drama, ambience and hair-raising twists. Hopefully promising a finale as exciting as the smash-hit first season.