Friday, 13 September 2013

"Peaky Blinders" Once Upon A Time In Birmingham, BBC2, review

From the stunning opening scene (dude rides into town on a horse??) featuring Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand", atmospheric Birmingham alleys aglow with furnace blasts, you knew this was going to be one out of the box. The scene by the fog shrouded canal (with a windmill in the left frame - think Sergio Leone) and slowly approaching canal barge, will knock your socks off.
Cillian Murphy (wily, but tormented Thomas) is charismatic and Helen McCrory (I liked her in "North Square") is perfect as the knowing family matriarch who can tote a gun with the best of 'em. Sam Neill chews up the scenery as the evangelical police chief who is sent to clean up the town.
Sure it's style driven, more like a Western than a Midlands crime drama, but it had me from the first minute. Thomas's opium smoking scene reminded me of "Once Upon A Time In America" (Sergio Leone again).
"Boardwalk Empire" has some competition. Interesting to note that writer/creator Steven Knight used to write for Brum icon Jasper Carrott.

Episode 2 was even better. Two great scenes - Tom and CI Campbell having afternoon tea and Billy Kimber's meeting in the pub with the Shelby clan.
Episode 3 - I'm hooked. This show goes from strength to strength. The warehouse confrontation between Tommy and Freddie was riveting. The race track scenes were opulent. The visuals in this show are quite beautiful. Production values rival "Boardwalk Empire". Arthur had more to do in this episode. Some nasty violence in the gents' lavatory. Disturbing seeing the little tyke brandishing the cleaver. Tommy is a wonderfully complex character. As is Grace.
Episode 4 Brilliant scene with Sam Neill and Cillian Murphy in the garage. I am getting used to the hodgepodge of accents. Tom shows again he is the master negotiator. Loved the big fat gypsy wedding. I think Grace has finally shown her hand.

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