Review: Tom Hardy leads the charge in another brilliant season of 'Peaky Blinders'
Ah, we've returned. 1920s Birmingham.
Such a delightfully bleak place. Even the colors are muted. Tommy's a recluse, Arthur's a family man, John's got "a big fancy house," and Polly is seeing ghosts.
Cillian Murphy's Thomas Shelby is brilliant in every way. He's always been the driving force behind the show's success and that hasn't changed in 2017. That said, every acting performance in Peaky Blinders seems to command your attention. Striking is the only word that comes to mind.
Whether it's the alcohol fueled rage of Arthur Shelby, or the coy behind-the-scenes scheming of Polly Gray, nobody is out-classed in this show. They simply feed off each other and make one complete landscape of amazingness. It's a fully-immersive experience.
Compared to its predecessors, the season 4 storyline was a relatively simple one. A classic revenge plot. Spy vs. Spy type stuff, with a few twists along the way. But by keeping the premise simple, the acting and visuals were really given a chance to shine. This may have been a mistake if the talent wasn't so strong, but in the case of Peaky Blinders, it simply works.
The fourth installment saw two major additions to the cast, with mixed results. The first was Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones) as the gypsy leader Aberama Gold. The second was Oscar-winner Adrien Brody as the Italian mafioso, Luca Changretta.
I enjoyed Gillen's performance. As more of a side character, his impact wasn't felt as heavily as Brody's, but that also left very little room to mess things up. Overall, he was solid. A welcomed addition to the series.
Brody, however, had a much more important role in the season, and that was unfortunate, due to some peculiar acting choices.
The character of Luca Changretta felt very cartoonish. Between the Marlon Brando Godfather voice and the cool-guy crooked hat, I couldn't tell if he was doing a parody of a 1920s gangster or actually trying to be badass. The toothpick in his mouth at all times - even during elaborate shootouts or epic monologues - felt so cliché that I laughed out loud at times.
Still, I'm nitpicking, and if Adrien Brody is the worst part of your show, then you've got a pretty fantastic product on your hands. Tom Hardy is still the best thing about the Peaky Blinders universe and he continues to shine in every scene.
The decision to wrap the season with a Radiohead song was almost cheating for me. It's a tactic that usually ends in an automatic rave review from yours truly; like a trick on my brain. It worked with Black Mirror's "Shut Up and Dance," and it worked in the finale of Peaky Blinders. "Pyramid Song". Nice touch.
Peaky Blinders, affectionately referred to as the British Boardwalk Empire, is one of the best shows on television and season 4 continues to meet that standard. Plus, there's a Christmas tree in the first episode, so it's a holiday watch! Sort of.
Easy on the eyes and with one of the most talented casts on television today, "you don't f*ck with the Peaky Blinders." Hard to argue with that.
(image via BBC)