TO three years after the last season it comes out today on Netflix Peaky Blinders 6. Cillian Murphy returns as Tommy Shelby to seal the end of a crime-drama history that has left its mark. The circle closes on the saga of the family that governs the fate of Birmingham: to see and review.
Peaky Blinders 6: in the gray, midwinter of Tommy Shelby
It’s been nine years since we first saw it Thomas Shelbychief of the Peaky Blinderscross the workers’ alleys of a Birmingham devastated by the first postwar period on a black Horseaccompanied by the hoarse voice of Leonard Cohen on the notes of Red Right Hand. Nine years for six seasons in which the epic story of the Shelby family unraveled between murders, betrayals, attacks, prophecies, love affairs, cigarettes and rivers of gin.
There sixth and last series of Peaky Blinderswritten by Steven Knight and directed by Anthony Byrne, opens with Tommy Shelby a face down in the mud. We had seen it in the final sequence of the fifth season point the gun to his head. We now know that the suicide was not successful: his wife Lizzie removed the bullets from the gun and Tommy, too shocked, didn’t even notice: “You’re not even a soldier anymore, Tommy, you didn’t check the weapon. You are not a soldier, you are a coward ».
Where were we?
The last season ended with the failed attack on Oswald Mosley to stop the rise of fascism in England, in the aftermath of which we know for sure that at least a member of the family has been killed. Who? And especially from who? If a doubt remained, the identity of the victim was soon revealed: Polly GrayTommy’s charismatic aunt and cousin’s mother Michael, banished from the family for questioning Tommy’s leadership. Now it’s theANGER (Irish Republican Army) to claim the military operation that saved Mosley and decreed Polly’s death: “We have reworked the structure of your organization. “
The time of the white powder
Runs the year 1933the Prohibition is over and alcohol is freely available: it is the time of the ‘dust’, of theopium pure that from Shanghai arrives at the Shelby warehouses in Liverpool to conquer the States. The role of villain of the season – aside from the ever-hateful Mosley and Nazi-sympathetic new girlfriend Diana Mitford – apparently it’s up to Jack Nelson (James Frecheville)underworld uncle of Gina Gray, Michael’s American wife.
Nelson trades in alcohol, is close to President Roosevelt but secretly interested in an alliance with the rising fascist star. Tommy seeks an agreement with Nelson for the passage of five tons of opium in South Boston, an area that is no longer his own and that Tommy wishes to reactivate.
Back to Business!
The Shelby family moves on two tracks: the new opium business and the continuation of the attempt to undermine the fascist movement from within with a series of reckless political moves and crossed trade alliances. Tommy, former informant of William Churchill, is the center where all extremisms converge. A bridge man towards a fairer society.
A man Tommy no longer has the fiber to be. Even because is sickhas recurring nightmares of mine tunnels and hears Polly’s voice speaking to him, reminding him that “There will be a war in the family, and one of you will die“. Or Michael, or Tommy.
The real enemy comes from within
There are no more Darby Sabines, Luca Changrettas, Campbell inspectors from Belfast: the enemies they come mainly from inside. From the family, with Michael Gray determined to have Tommy’s head for avenge the death of mother, for which he holds him responsible. And above all, come on inner demons Tommy’s: the ambition, the remorse, the regret and the inconsolable pain of too many lossesfrom first wife Grace to Polly herself.
An inconsolable pain to the point that Tommy no longer drinks, not even the gin of his own production which is so popular with the working classes: “Four years ago (that is, at the death of Polly, ed) I gave up on alcohol. Ever since I gave up alcohol I am a much calmer and more peaceful man. ” Hard to believe, even if Tommy, among other novelties, now threatens enemies using verses by William Blake.
Neither alcohol nor tobacco: new habits for an old alliance
While outwardly he is increasingly determined to do not set limitssober and in control before the final leap, it is as if Tommy no longer distinguishes the side from the other, suspended in a near-death of mournful sobriety. Sobriety shared in part by Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy, an unexpected return and kept secret from the production), with which the Shelby goes into business for the umpteenth time to get the Camden market. The jewish mobster has gave up tobacco and re-evaluated opera music: the world has really changed.
The death of actress Helen McRory and the disappearance of Polly Gray
There loss of Polly in a sense it is equivalent to loss of soul – the individual one of Tommy and the collective one of the Peaky Blinders, who find themselves lacking a strong, charismatic female figure, unique in its moments of tenderness, intelligent and foresight. “Polly was my half“, Tommy says “Come to see me in my dreams.“ Not just the characters but the cast themselves seem to suffer from the absence of Helen McCroy, disappearance a 52 years old for a tumor in 2021.
The pervasive sadness that accompanies the story is no longer illuminated by the glamorous shots of the ruthless and courageous Aunt Polly, cynical And hopelessly romantic, sophisticated and instinctive, played by the beautiful McRory. The landscape, increasingly icy and rarefied despite the Art Deco opulence of so many interiors, corresponds to the faces of the characters hollowed out by pain.
The esoteric track
Tommy Shelby is a man poised between worlds. Descendant of one Gypsy lineagehe has never broken with tradition, he believes in spirits and curses and he is firmly convinced that he is wearing one. The sixth season contains another major loss in the life of the protagonist, a loss that will bring him back to the mysterious world of the gypsies and that will be the harbinger of new revenge. “Kill and kill again“whispers the voice of Polly in the hallucinations of Tommy and Michael: e each uses the prophecies of the deceased according to their own convictions.
The women of Peaky Blinders
It is as if Polly’s witch-like combativeness has redistributed itself among the other female characters, first of all Tommy’s younger sister, Ada Thorneenveloped in Chanel suits and reluctant deputy chief in the absence of his brother. The transition from an idealistic girl to mature confident entrepreneur of her assets it’s complete. In the absence of Aunt Polly, Ada is Tommy’s counterpart, of which he takes up the dry and determined stylewith a touch of all-female verbal ruthlessness.
Lizzie, former prostitute, secretary family’s and Tommy’s second wife, she finds the courage to express all her loneliness alongside an absent and inaccessible husband like a safe. Gina Gray (Anya Taylor-Joy)Michael’s young wife and Jack Nelson’s nephew, is confirmed cold and amoral animal in the footsteps of Lady Macbeth.
Burying old Tommy to make up for the past
More than ever this season the need for redemption by Tommy. A severe bereavement it’s a unexpected diagnosis they push him to become the man he always wanted to be. Throughout history we will see him kill and save lives with much more sobriety than in the past. A past of violence from which he tries to redeem himself by returning to his ancient he war hero idealsusing his position as a parliamentarian to pitch building projects for the pooraccepting compromises with the worst enemies in order to achieve his idea of a new and fairer world.
Above all try to do justice to each member of the familystarting with the saving of the brother Arthur from the abyss of drugs and alcohol in which he plunged back. But also to Lizzie, with whom he shares some moments of authentic openness. And then the children, all the children, including those he did not yet know existed. Among other things, Tommy discovers that gold does not buy own everythingnot even with the best of intentions.
Peaky Blinders 6: the ending of the finals
The narrative and recitative level is very high. The lack of Helen McRory, to whom the first episode is dedicated, aired in March by the BBC, certainly weighs heavily. It also feels a certain imbalance in favor ofinteriority Tommy’s compared to action scenes we were used to, and some moments of slowness a little pleased that especially in the final they can be exasperating.
But the quality is massiam: from the consistent fabric of symbols – above all, towards the end, the ticking of the clock pocket, but also the recurring theme of the horse, Shelby totem animal. We can perhaps reproach – remaining humble – a a bit of a mechanical use of Michael’s character, never really in the foreground. For the rest these six intense episodes, including the final, are a worthy conclusion of a TV series destined to remain in history. By order of the Peaky f *** ing Blinders!
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