“Every man, he craves certainty.” Wise words by Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) from Peaky Blinders. For many around the world, however, this quote might require a slight tweak as, “Every man, he craves clarity.” This might ring true for several viewers who admitted to facing difficulties in understanding the British gangster drama. And specifically deciphering the mind-bending tales spun by our favorite, Alfie Solomons. Although, we wouldn’t admit that to him if we were you. Unless you want a menacing glare and a “You’re a brave lad, ain’t ya?” that’ll send chills down your spine.
Tom Hardy often has Americans saying ‘What?’
Snatch, the 2000 British Comedy by Guy Ritchie, had a hilarious dialogue pointing out the unusual accent of the Pikeys or Gypsies. “It’s not English, it’s not Irish, it’s just Pikey.” To emphasize it more, the only American character in the British conveyed his exasperation, saying, “Speak English to me, Tony. I thought this country spawned the f**king language, and so far nobody seems to speak it.” Many Americans seem to share the same sentiment for the British actor Tom Hardy.
A recent survey posted on Preply ranked Tom Hardy as of the hardest-to-understand accents. In fact, Peaky Blinders, the show itself, has proven to be a task for numerous viewers. While it is obvious that non-native English speakers would find the vocabulary tonality daunting, even Americans (native) found the language of the show quite challenging. The show features several accents, including and not limited to British, Irish, and Sottish. These three make up almost 84% of the most difficult-to-understand accents for Americans.
Then there are the regional and cultural dialects that alter the said accents. And to top it all off, there is the slang. Tom Hardy’s Alfie Solomons is a Jewish gangster with a crude and heavy cockney accent. If that wasn’t enough, his character warrants intrigue, so he often digresses a lot before getting to the point. It’s all part of his’ if you can’t convince, confuse’ style Modus operandi. It’s no wonder Americans had a tough time interpreting his web of strangely strung quotes. As Alfie himself so eloquently puts it, “The Americans want it sweeter,” whether it’s Gin or the language.
Subtitles to the rescue
Subtitles that were once just aid and an accessibility tool are probably catalysts for globalization. With subtitles mainstream now, everyone around the globe is able to consume every piece of content, regardless of the language. The audience even prefers subs to the dubbed versions as it feels more authentic. Apart from that, subtitles have also helped ease difficult-to-understand shows such as the aforementioned Peaky Blinders.
There are various reasons for the audience to opt for subtitles. The most common ones are muddled audio, unusual accents, dark visuals, and the speed of dialogue delivery. Unsurprisingly, the show Peaky Blinders checks off all these boxes. Closed captions probably also help consumers concentrate better and appreciate the nuances and subtext within the dialogues.
Right, so here’s the thing. Put on your subtitles, right, and look up stuff you don’t understand. Granted, you may lose time, but you “will be a wiser man for it.” Don’t miss out on amazing shows like Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Also, please don’t tell Alfie we misquoted him.