‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Breaks Own Record & Is BBC Two’s Top Drama Of 2017

EXCLUSIVE: The Steven Knight-created period gangster epic Peaky Blinders wrapped its Season 4 run in the UK last month, and with consolidated figures now tabulated, it scores as the most-watched drama of 2017 on BBC Two. The season average was 3.3M viewers with a peak episode volume of 3.6M for the finale — the biggest audience for an episode ever.
The numbers also make it the most popular season for the Shelby clan. Previous season averages were 2.4M, 2.2M and 2.4M…

EXCLUSIVE: The Steven Knight-created period gangster epic Peaky Blinders wrapped its Season 4 run in the UK last month, and with consolidated figures now tabulated, it scores as the most-watched drama of 2017 on BBC Two. The season average was 3.3M viewers with a peak episode volume of 3.6M for the finale — the biggest audience for an episode ever. The numbers also make it the most popular season for the Shelby clan. Previous season averages were 2.4M, 2.2M and 2.4M…

‘The Party’ Film Review: Sally Potter Spins a Bleakly Hilarious Political Farce

It would be easy to miss just how commitedly Sally Potter’s first film in five years operates as trenchant political satire, because that’s an incomplete definition for what she’s achieved. “The Party” is foremost a brilliant clockwork farce, brimming with wit and bile, the way Molière would do it, or Edward Albee. Featuring a veteran cast in top form and running just 71 minutes, this post-Brexit chamber piece hits like a fast jab to the face — one that bruises and draws blood.

It’s probably possible (especially for an American viewer) to coast through this film on its comedic set-ups and payoffs alone. The dialogue bristles like the iron spikes inside a medieval torture device, while Potter maneuvers her starry ensemble through a series of riotous interpersonal explosions with a born farceur’s callous glee.

“The Party” of the title is nominally a celebration hosted by and for Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas), a career politician who’s just been selected “shadow minister of health” by an unnamed and seemingly permanently out-of-power political sect. We know something’s darkly wrong from the plot proper’s first shot, which is of Janet’s political mastermind and husband Bill — an aging drunkard played by Timothy Spall with a ghastly glaze of horror in his eyes — fumbling for the needle on an audiophile turntable.

Also Read: Women, Non-White Directors Show No Gains in Last Year’s Top 100 Grossing Movies, USC Study Finds

The guests arrive quickly, brandishing bitter bon mots like longswords. April (Patricia Clarkson) is Janet’s old friend and unoffical advisor, a bluntspoken “truth teller” whose deadpan brutishness always seems to be stifling a scream. Her trippy boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) chants bromides like mantras. (April’s putdown likening Gottfried’s aromatherapist belief system to the Nazis might be this hilarious movie’s biggest laugh.)

Jinny (Emily Mortimer) rushes in with life-altering news for her aging partner Martha (Cherry Jones): Jinny’s in vitro-fertilization treatments have yielded a bumper harvest of male embryos, in triplicate. Meanwhile, the “wanker banker” Tom (Cillian Murphy) carries a gun beneath his jacket, plus apologies that his wife Marianne is running late. They will wait for her to arrive, the way Vladimir and Estragon once waited for Godot.

Also Read: Patricia Clarkson to Star in Gillian Flynn’s HBO Drama ‘Sharp Objects’

All four couples are enmeshed in a hidden rondelay of betrayals past and present, and as they tear at each other as if pulling off scabs, Potter skewers them like a social vivisectionist. The collective is a grim microcosm of the Obama-era Atlantic alliance: vaguely leftist Americans and Brits, plus one out-of-place German. Janet is totemically New Labor; Bill a Christopher Hitchens-esque secular humanist declaiming socialistic cant while skeletons dance in his eyes.

Everyone stands for something, until their assumptions get challenged or they feel a threat. Then the “bare poor forked animal” Shakespeare wrote about writhes to the surface, spitting blood through its fangs almost literally; in an early tip off, Bill looks up at the glass door leading to the garden and sees a trembling fox.

Watch Video: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas on Why ‘Darkest Hour’ Was ‘Daunting’ to Make (Exclusive)

In the era of Brexit and alt-right internationalism, Potter bypasses the obvious targets for subtler ones. Forget Trumpism and Farage-ism: the dithering of the international liberal elite is the object of her unrelenting ire. Like Jean Renoir, who presciently anatomized pre-Vichy France in his deathless “Rules of the Game,” Potter takes aim at the self absorption of the leadership class, the ones who were supposed to save us all from the armies of the night.

Renoir lived to see French democracy crushed under the boot-heel of Adolph Hitler. Things in Britain and America haven’t gone quite that far. But a movie that begins with a character offhandedly stating “Democracy is over” and ends with a bloodstained caress and the words “How did we end up like this?” is clearly sounding an alarm.

For all its brittle hilarity, Potter has shot her film in black and white. In context, it plays as an avatar of artistic seriousness. Or a warning with implications worth heeding.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Brie Larson: Women Directing Feminine Movies Are ‘Radical’ (Video)

Indie Movies Aren’t Hiring Women Directors Either, Study Finds

Bronwen Hughes on Providing ‘Hard Evidence’ Women Deserve to Direct More Movies (Guest Blog)

‘Wonder Woman’ Director Patty Jenkins Urges: Hire Women for ‘All Kinds of Things,’ Not Just Film

It would be easy to miss just how commitedly Sally Potter’s first film in five years operates as trenchant political satire, because that’s an incomplete definition for what she’s achieved. “The Party” is foremost a brilliant clockwork farce, brimming with wit and bile, the way Molière would do it, or Edward Albee. Featuring a veteran cast in top form and running just 71 minutes, this post-Brexit chamber piece hits like a fast jab to the face — one that bruises and draws blood.

It’s probably possible (especially for an American viewer) to coast through this film on its comedic set-ups and payoffs alone. The dialogue bristles like the iron spikes inside a medieval torture device, while Potter maneuvers her starry ensemble through a series of riotous interpersonal explosions with a born farceur’s callous glee.

“The Party” of the title is nominally a celebration hosted by and for Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas), a career politician who’s just been selected “shadow minister of health” by an unnamed and seemingly permanently out-of-power political sect. We know something’s darkly wrong from the plot proper’s first shot, which is of Janet’s political mastermind and husband Bill — an aging drunkard played by Timothy Spall with a ghastly glaze of horror in his eyes — fumbling for the needle on an audiophile turntable.

The guests arrive quickly, brandishing bitter bon mots like longswords. April (Patricia Clarkson) is Janet’s old friend and unoffical advisor, a bluntspoken “truth teller” whose deadpan brutishness always seems to be stifling a scream. Her trippy boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) chants bromides like mantras. (April’s putdown likening Gottfried’s aromatherapist belief system to the Nazis might be this hilarious movie’s biggest laugh.)

Jinny (Emily Mortimer) rushes in with life-altering news for her aging partner Martha (Cherry Jones): Jinny’s in vitro-fertilization treatments have yielded a bumper harvest of male embryos, in triplicate. Meanwhile, the “wanker banker” Tom (Cillian Murphy) carries a gun beneath his jacket, plus apologies that his wife Marianne is running late. They will wait for her to arrive, the way Vladimir and Estragon once waited for Godot.

All four couples are enmeshed in a hidden rondelay of betrayals past and present, and as they tear at each other as if pulling off scabs, Potter skewers them like a social vivisectionist. The collective is a grim microcosm of the Obama-era Atlantic alliance: vaguely leftist Americans and Brits, plus one out-of-place German. Janet is totemically New Labor; Bill a Christopher Hitchens-esque secular humanist declaiming socialistic cant while skeletons dance in his eyes.

Everyone stands for something, until their assumptions get challenged or they feel a threat. Then the “bare poor forked animal” Shakespeare wrote about writhes to the surface, spitting blood through its fangs almost literally; in an early tip off, Bill looks up at the glass door leading to the garden and sees a trembling fox.

In the era of Brexit and alt-right internationalism, Potter bypasses the obvious targets for subtler ones. Forget Trumpism and Farage-ism: the dithering of the international liberal elite is the object of her unrelenting ire. Like Jean Renoir, who presciently anatomized pre-Vichy France in his deathless “Rules of the Game,” Potter takes aim at the self absorption of the leadership class, the ones who were supposed to save us all from the armies of the night.

Renoir lived to see French democracy crushed under the boot-heel of Adolph Hitler. Things in Britain and America haven’t gone quite that far. But a movie that begins with a character offhandedly stating “Democracy is over” and ends with a bloodstained caress and the words “How did we end up like this?” is clearly sounding an alarm.

For all its brittle hilarity, Potter has shot her film in black and white. In context, it plays as an avatar of artistic seriousness. Or a warning with implications worth heeding.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Brie Larson: Women Directing Feminine Movies Are 'Radical' (Video)

Indie Movies Aren't Hiring Women Directors Either, Study Finds

Bronwen Hughes on Providing 'Hard Evidence' Women Deserve to Direct More Movies (Guest Blog)

'Wonder Woman' Director Patty Jenkins Urges: Hire Women for 'All Kinds of Things,' Not Just Film

‘The Crown’ Season 2 & ‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Review: Rule Britannia, Again

The death of Christine Keeler at age 75 on December 4 is both a 20th century footnote now and a poignant reminder of the sweep of history sought in Netflix’s The Crown.
Although rarely seen on screen, the woman at the heart of the Profumo affair scandal that pulled back the veil on the British upper classes in 1963 is a big part of the December 8-launching second season of the Elizabeth II-chronicling series created by Peter Morgan.
Along with the excellent-as0always…

The death of Christine Keeler at age 75 on December 4 is both a 20th century footnote now and a poignant reminder of the sweep of history sought in Netflix’s The Crown. Although rarely seen on screen, the woman at the heart of the Profumo affair scandal that pulled back the veil on the British upper classes in 1963 is a big part of the December 8-launching second season of the Elizabeth II-chronicling series created by Peter Morgan. Along with the excellent-as0always…

‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Gets Netflix U.S. Release Date

EXCLUSIVE: Season 4 of Peaky Blinders got up and running in the UK last week, and now has a U.S. airdate. Netflix will make all episodes of the highly-anticipated return of the epic period gangster series available in the States on December 21, I’ve learned.
When it began airing on BBC Two last week, Season 4 of the Steven Knight-created drama scored its best opening ratings in the overnights since the top-ranked September 2013 start.
Reviews for the S4 opener coming out…

EXCLUSIVE: Season 4 of Peaky Blinders got up and running in the UK last week, and now has a U.S. airdate. Netflix will make all episodes of the highly-anticipated return of the epic period gangster series available in the States on December 21, I’ve learned. When it began airing on BBC Two last week, Season 4 of the Steven Knight-created drama scored its best opening ratings in the overnights since the top-ranked September 2013 start. Reviews for the S4 opener coming out…

‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Scores Best UK Debut Since 2013 Launch On BBC Two

The return of Peaky Blinders to BBC Two on Wednesday night scored the best season opening ratings in the overnights since the series’ top-ranked start in September 2013. Season 4’s debut of the Steven Knight-created period gangster epic drew 2.3M viewers in the UK last night, swaggering in just a notch behind the Season 1 start of 2.4M four years ago.
Reviews for the S4 opener coming out of the UK are stellar as the Shelby family is forced to reunite after S3’s intense…

The return of Peaky Blinders to BBC Two on Wednesday night scored the best season opening ratings in the overnights since the series’ top-ranked start in September 2013. Season 4’s debut of the Steven Knight-created period gangster epic drew 2.3M viewers in the UK last night, swaggering in just a notch behind the Season 1 start of 2.4M four years ago. Reviews for the S4 opener coming out of the UK are stellar as the Shelby family is forced to reunite after S3's intense…

‘Peaky Blinders’: Steven Knight & Cillian Murphy Update On Season 4, Series’ Future, The Movie And The Musical

With Peaky Blinders heading into its fourth season on BBC Two beginning November 15 in the UK, creator Steven Knight and core cast members including Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson and Helen McCrory recently shared their thoughts about the latest installment in the lives of the Shelby family, as well as the future of the series and a possible transfer to the big screen (says Knight, “Peaky is now a beast that will not die”). On a visit to the Peaky set, I also spoke with…

With Peaky Blinders heading into its fourth season on BBC Two beginning November 15 in the UK, creator Steven Knight and core cast members including Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson and Helen McCrory recently shared their thoughts about the latest installment in the lives of the Shelby family, as well as the future of the series and a possible transfer to the big screen (says Knight, “Peaky is now a beast that will not die"). On a visit to the Peaky set, I also spoke with…

‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 4 Sets UK Premiere Date On BBC Two

BBC Two has set the UK premiere date for Season 4 of Peaky Blinders. Ending a 17-month wait, the period gangster epic returns on November 15 at 9 PM local.
The news comes about a month after the first trailer was released for what series creator Steven Knight has called the best season so far. A U.S. launch date has not yet been confirmed by Netflix, though it typically follows once the UK run has ended.
At the end of last season, we saw Cillian Murphy‘s Tommy Shelby at…

BBC Two has set the UK premiere date for Season 4 of Peaky Blinders. Ending a 17-month wait, the period gangster epic returns on November 15 at 9 PM local. The news comes about a month after the first trailer was released for what series creator Steven Knight has called the best season so far. A U.S. launch date has not yet been confirmed by Netflix, though it typically follows once the UK run has ended. At the end of last season, we saw Cillian Murphy's Tommy Shelby at…