Well-known for his big-screen work, Cillian Murphy has been lauded for his performance as Tommy Shelby, a gang leader in "Peaky Blinders".
In fact, Murphy is to this show what Steve Buscemi (Enoch “Nucky” Thompson) was to "Boardwalk Empire" – a commanding and powerful anchor.
Like "Boardwalk Empire", "Peaky Blinders" boasts tour de force performances from the cast as well as a narrative that is second to none. Don’t even get me started on the topnotch directing and mind-blowing cinematography.
Last season, Shelby’s clan faced-off against the American mob boss, Luca Changretta.
Shedding light on the new series, Murphy revealed: “The Wall Street financial crash of 1929 is the major historical backdrop that we open on in series five. The Shelby family lose millions in stocks and shares. As a result, they are all drawn back into the world of real money and how to get their hands on it. With opportunity and misfortune everywhere, Tommy and Arthur are looking at new ways the family can become cash-rich again. With the world in turmoil, the effects of the financial crash have made the Peaky Blinders revert back to the criminal world that Tommy probably didn’t want to be pulled back into.”
Tommy is now a member of parliament, which sees his loyalty tested.
Murphy added: “We see him making speeches in the House of Commons and walking the dark corridors of power. Emotionally, however, Tommy is not in a great place. He’s returned to the repetitive loop of self-medication that we saw him conducting in series one. From the outside, Tommy looks hugely successful in terms of his financial and political achievements but inside he is a bit smashed and broken.”
This season, Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), a fascist politician, becomes a serious thorn in Tommy’s side.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth “Polly” Gray (Helen McCrory) is living the high life.
She shared: “When we first see Polly in the opening episode, she is in Monte Carlo on a champagne-fuelled gambling spree with her new lover, who is a pilot. Steve (Knight) has written her to be in a lovely happy place and it all comes crashing down around her within about five seconds of the opening scenes. “It’s the crash of the Wall Street Stock Exchange and no one thought it would happen and no one had ever seen anything like it before. The Peaky Blinders have lost lots of money and it’s all gone horribly wrong for them.”
Another troubling issue that surfaces is the mental illness that runs in the Shelby family.
“Tommy has been dealing with what happened to him in the war for years and the subsequent issues evolving from that since then through self-medication of various substance abuse and alcohol abuse,” she said.
“While not quite a sex addict, his inability to have any kind of intimacy with anybody suggests that it all stems from the psychological trauma he suffered in the war. He’s managed to keep it under wraps because he lives in this dysfunctional world surrounded by dysfunctional people and he doesn’t really stand out.
“Now, however, it’s started to affect his private dreams, his inability to sleep and his inability to face himself and his inability to come to terms with the things he has done. The consequence of doing good for people is that you have to come to terms with the bad you have done, which in his case is most of his adult life…”
Morals are purged as the stakes soar this season.
Peaky Blinders 5 airs on BBC First (DStv 119) on October 23 at 8pm