First off, if you’re not watching Netflix’s Peaky Blinders you’ve missed out on the best television show in recent memory. The good news is you’ve got three seasons of the show to watch and catch up for S4 which just hit Netflix this past week. This show IS the measuring stick by which all other hour-long dramas are judged against and most don’t come close to measuring up. The best writing, performances and cinematography going today, for sure.
When Adrien Brody was announced as the main villain for s4, he had some big shoes to fill. Aside from standing along side prior villains like Charlie Creed Miles, Sam Neil, Paddy Constantine, Noah Taylor and Tom Hardy (who all absolutely blew the roof off the place in terms of their performances), Brody would be going toe-to-toe with Cillian Murphy in the fourth year of portraying Tommy Shelby – one of the best actors portraying one of his best characters – and DAMN does Brody deliver. Continuing the Peaky Blinders tradition of crafting villains that are not only equally charismatic as the protagonists, but also legitimately feel like genuine threats.
This is a monumental task for any actor, let alone Brody who has been a bit hit or miss with his film choices, but he rolls in and dwarfs Shelby in terms of menace, mystery and sheer will. Brody as Luca is arguably the biggest, most menacing threat Tommy has ever faced and he is almost demonic in his unerring, fixation on his vendetta.
Let’s look at how his character, Luca Changretta became such a palpable threat to the seemingly untouchable Shelby clan.
In season 1, we’re introduced to the Italian gang by way of the death of Danny Whizbang as he accidentally runs afoul of them, causing the initial contact between the Shelby’s and the Italians. Shelby uses one of his gypsy cons to get Whizbang out of trouble and fool the Italians.
In season 2, Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) emerges as the primary villain that Tommy wants to drive out of the legitimate bookie business and take his spot. The Blinders and the Sabini gang go to war with Shelby coming out on top, effectively making Sabini an impotent figure in the criminal underworld (something he’d love to avenge, no doubt).
Season 3, the Changretta’s were properly introduced. Tommy was dealing with the Russian problem and forbade any Blinders from becoming involved with anyone outside the family until it was resolved. The Changretta’s youngest son, Angel, didn’t listen to Tommy’s decree and as a result John blinded him with a razor blade and beat the shit out of him.
This was not without recourse as the patriarch of the family Vicente Changretta ordered a hit on Tommy that ended with Grace (his wife) taking a bullet intended for him. Blood for blood, Tommy captured Vicente before he escaped to America and intended to torture him to death in retribution for Grace’s murder. Arthur, sparing Tommy that weight on his soul and giving mercy to Vicente shot him in the head before the torture began.
As season 4 begins, we find out that the Changretta’s oldest son, Luca, has come to Birmingham on what the Italians call ‘vendetta.’ Not only is he seeking revenge for his father and brother’s murder, but he is a soldier in the New York Mafia. The mafia is a very different organization than the Italian gangs in England. They’re much more ruthless and violent and they’ve served the entire Shelby family with a black hand (meaning they’ve been marked for death).
Luca is fueled by what he sees as righteous justification and has the weight of one of the most dangerous international criminal organizations at his disposal (as well as being aided by Darby Sabini). He truly is not only one of the most dangerous foes for the Shelby Clan, but also a villainous creation of the Shelby’s making. They unknowingly put Luca on a collision course with their family over the years and now they’re going to have to either kill or be kill as a result of their own choices.
Peaky Blinders is back on Netflix! Check it out and let us know what you think on Twitter @official_FAN