Reginald Kray (Tom Hardy) the better half of the notorious Kray Twins must manage his growing criminal empire, keep his insane brother Ronnie in check while sweetening up the lovely but doomed Frances Shea (Emily Browning)
Lately there have been quite a few complaints from movie going audiences that there are not only too many comic book/reboots/sequels etc but too many damn origin stories too. So imagine my and many others’ surprise when Legend actually starts off right in the middle, where we see Reggie and Ronnie in the midst of expanding their criminal empire. Gone are the origins, the kids playing amidst the rubble of The Blitz, here we’re thrust right into the backseat of the smoking twin’s limo.
So let’s go through the best bits first which unsurprisingly is Hardy himself as the cool and dashing Reggie, honestly after seeing him in those expensive suits and what not, I can now see him as James Bond. Reggie is obviously the better out of the two, wanting to be a better and proper businessman while charming the pants of his future wife Frances Shea.
But let’s not beat around the bush, the main draw is Hardy as Ronnie along with his buck teeth, incoherent ramblings and occasional outbursts. It’s quite interesting to see such a great actor attempting to out act himself. Another nice touch that should be mentioned is that to show the difference between them, Ronnie is made to be a tad huskier since at the time he was on anti-crazy drugs and a lot of booze and if the book is anything to go by, it was a lot of booze.
The rest of the cast do well with what they are given but in all fairness, this is Hardy’s movie. Browning is great as the sweet, unlucky love interest serving as the moral centre as she is thrust upon Reggie, his brother and mother and his whole world too.
Christopher Eccleston takes the role of Detective Leonard “Nipper” Read who has the Krays under his watchful eye, playing a constant battle of cat and mouse. Personally I could have done with a bit more on the man who caught the Krays but I guess this isn’t his movie.
Kingsman’s Taron Egerton has some moments as Ron’s young boyfriend, taunting the twin to misbehave which leads to one of the signature scenes of the movie, the Krays getting into a smack-a-thon between each other which quickly leads to an all out fist fight. It’s both funny, scary and edited to the point you’re not looking out for any errors but rather enjoying watching Tom Hardy beat the crap out of himself.
Which leads us to the violence. It goes without saying that the twins were a brutal lot, especially together. However, even though the film is violent in its own right, there aren’t that many scenes showcasing their skills. There’s a bar fight, the titular twins battle, and a few moments here and there. What director Brian Helgeland focuses on more is the relationship between Reggie and Frances which works for the most part but when you have such an explosive performance and out of this world character such as Ron, I wanted to see more of him. Make no mistake, the love story is cute and all but once you see Hardy’s interpretation of the crazy twin, you just don’t want to look away.
Thematically, the movie is heavily inspired by Goodfellas, with its rock and roll type editing and dialogue although it still needed some work on the latter. However, with such a great cast and a director who knows about style, the pros outweigh the cons by a mile. Hardy seemed to have taken a backseat in Mad Max: Fury Road but here, we’re given a double dose.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton
Running Time: 131
Release Date: 25th January 2016