British screenwriter and director Steven Knight is no stranger to the underworld. His screenplay for 2002’s Stephen Frears-directed drama “Dirty Pretty Things” looked unblinkingly into a moral cesspool of prostitution, drug dealing and off-the-book surgeries centered around a hotel staffed almost entirely by illegal immigrants. His collaboration with ick-meister David Cronenberg took this fascination with London’s unsavory side one step further in “Eastern Promises,” spinning a nasty tale of bloodthirsty Russian mobsters who are mired in such unspeakable business that they make the Soprano family look tame. For now, though, Knight has taken his preoccupations with London’s seamy side to the small screen, and the result is “Peaky Blinders,” a ripe-with-potential gangster saga that chronicles the rise of Birmingham’s infamous gang (the namesake of the show), and it has just released the first look at the upcoming second season.
This new clip, which features the great Cillian Murphy simmering with quiet menace as feared gang leader Tommy Shelby, is thick with the atmosphere, sophisticated composition and the staggering production values that viewers have come to associate with the show. Its creators have described “Peaky Blinders” as the “Anti-Downton” (as in “Abbey) and it shows. This is savage gangland entertainment, pure and simple, but done in a concise and fiercely watchable way, and with discernible enthusiasm for the subject at hand. With Tom Hardy (who essentially put on a one-man show for Knight in this year’s “Locke”) joining season 2, in addition to Noah Taylor and Charlotte Riley, it looks like there’s sufficient reason for fans of hard-boiled London crime stories to get excited. Below is the official synopsis for Season 2:
Birmingham crime boss Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) heads into perilous territory in the second series of Steven Knight’s acclaimed gangster epic. As the 1920s begin to roar, business is booming for the Peaky Blinders gang. Shelby starts to expand his legal and illegal operations. He has his sights set firmly on wider horizons, and the race tracks of the South are calling out for new management. Shelby’s meteoric rise brings him into contact with both the upper echelons of society and astonishing new adversaries from London’s criminal enterprises. All will test him to the core, though in very different ways.
Meanwhile, Shelby’s home turf of Birmingham is beset by new challenges as members of his family react to the upturn in their fortunes, and an enemy from his past returns to the city with plans for a revenge of biblical proportions.
The Season 2 premiere of “Peaky Blinders” airs on October 2nd, and episodes will be available to stream on Netflix as soon as September 30th. [Flickering Myth]