Ronnie and Reggie Kray have already been the subject of many a film. They’ve been depicted previously by the Kemp brothers in 1990 and now the twins return to the big screen being played by Tom Hardy and… Tom Hardy.
Narrated by Francis, Reggie’s wife, Legend tells the story of twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray during their career as the organised crime lords of London during the 1960s.
It’s pretty safe to say that Legend is not a film that you can enjoy. The Krays were renowned for their powerful intimidation techniques and violent outbursts whilst rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous of the 1960s and this is shown very clearly throughout the film. The glitz and glamour of the nightclubs are contrasted with punches being thrown and dodgy deals being made in the dark corners.
Tom Hardy really needs to be praised for his role as both of the Kray brothers. Hardy’s performance as both twins is great, even coming across as two separate actors rather than one playing both characters. It’s amazing how a pair of glasses and a set of false teeth changed the look of Hardy from suave business man Reggie to troubled gangster Ronnie. While it’s not really possible to make the Krays likeable characters, the film does well to bring the characters down to earth, making them into the real life people they once were. One question is, as Hardy is playing both the main character and supporting role, does that mean he can be nominated for two roles for the same film?
The supporting cast is also very good. Taron Egerton – previously seen in Kingsman – plays Ronnie’s lover, while Christopher Eccleston plays the investigating officer in the Kray’s case. It’s a shame that Eccleston’s character was not explored more, with him appearing only a couple of times throughout the whole film. Emily Browning, who plays Reggie’s wife Frances, needs a special mention. She transforms from a love-struck teenager to a broken adult. No matter what she witnesses and or experiences, she always tries her hardest to stay positive.
Understandably, Legend is an intense film and not for the faint-hearted. The whole way through there is very strong language, but it’s not until the end of the film where it gets the most violent – I even heard a bloke behind me whisper “Ah…so that’s why it’s an 18…”. If you can get past the violence and language, Legend is a good film which takes a new and interesting look at the career of the notorious London gangsters.
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