We’re analyzing the opening 10 minutes of Peaky Blinders, scene by scene, line by line, action by action.
We’re onto scene 8, the intense first fight between the two oldest Shelby Brothers – Arthur and Thomas.
First, let’s read the scene.
INT. BETTING SHOP, ARTHUR’S OFFICE – CONTINUOUS – DAY.
You was seen doing the powder trick down at Garrison court.
Times are hard. People need a reason to lay a bet.
There was a Chinese.
The washer women say she’s a witch. It helps them believe.
We don’t mess with Chinese.
Look at the book…
Chinese have cutters of their own.
We agreed. I’m taking charge of drumming up new money.
What if Monaghan Boy wins? You fixing races now Tommy? You have permission from Billy Kimber to be fixing races? What’s got into you Tommy? You think we can take on the Chinese and Billy Kimber? Billy’s got a bloody army!
I think Arthur. That’s what I do. I think. So you don’t have to.
Thomas leaves. Arthur hurries after him.
There’s news from Belfast…
Thomas is already walking away. Arthur comes to the door and calls out.
I’m calling a family council tonight at eight o’clock.
I want all of us there.
You hear me?
There’s trouble coming.
A train’s whistle screams as it speeds through a station.
The next scene reveals what Arthur means by his lines “There’s news from Belfast” and “There’s trouble coming” as we meet series Antagonist Chief Inspector Campbell for the first time.
However, back to this scene.
What do we learn about Arthur’s character from the dialogue?
1. He fears Billy Kimber and the Chinese.
2. He’s worried about trouble from Belfast.
1. He is morally corrupt, not adverse to ‘fixing races’ in order to make his money.
2. He sees himself as “taking charge”.
3. He believes he is smarter than his older brother. “I think…so that you don’t have to.”
4. He is fearless, not even flinching to his older brother’s warnings about Billy’s “army.”
NB – the word ‘army’ will have different connotations for Thomas, fresh back from the trenches of World War 1.
Click here for the next scene – Scene 9: Introducing the Antagonist.