Trouble and Strife
Legend is a biopic of London’s most notorious gangsters: the Kray twins Portrayed by Tom Hardy as Reggie Kray and Tom Hardy as Ronnie Kray.
It is an odd situation where one actor could easily be Oscar nominated for the best actor AND best supporting actor for the same film.
It probably won’t happen because it sounds stupid but it easily could because Hardy does a stellar job of bringing both twins to life.
The depiction of Ronnie Kray isn’t as good as Reggie because whilst many of his exaggerated character traits provide some much appreciated comic relief they do tend to wander into slapstick territory.
Some people might not like this iteration of Ronnie and will come to this film seeking for a straighter gangster film but I think director Brian Helgeland has done a good job of striking a balance between a cartoon character and vicious gangster.
It’s a Japanese way of moderation; make him unhinged in some scenes but a clown in others. Two extreme polarities yet the overall result is somehow a balanced characterisation of a quirky psychopath.
The brains behind the operation though is Reggie who is smart, charming just as hard as his ‘bruvah’ Ronnie. Reggie is surprisingly likeable but there is still something terrifying that underpins Hardy’s performance.
Is this thanks to a decent script? Is it thanks to incredible acting? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because Tom Hardy is the actor who won the “Most likely to snap and kill someone” in the imaginary awards that I just made up? Again I’m not sure, but I am sure I wouldn’t want to get on Hardy’s bad side – there’s just something about him!
What is more impressive than the individual performances is how good the chemistry is between Hardy and err… himself!? The film somehow portrays a genuine brotherly relationship and even the great fight scene between the two still somehow nails this kinship.
The film doesn’t nail everything; sometimes it swings and hits its own thumb. The biggest throbbing pain is Reggie’s wife Francis (Emily Browning). Wait, i know she’s beautiful but that wasn’t meant to be some sort of innuendo.
Francis actual narrates the film, which doesn’t work in my opinion. I get the desire to show the Krays through the eyes of a 3rd party but a better choice would have been the police who are introduced in the very first scene. They could have even swapped narrators to stitch together multiple narratives into one larger story arc.
Using this approach might have even helped to provide some relevance to the Mafia presence which is – no pun intended – criminally under developed. They are only shown on screen to provide a reason for the Krays rapid accumulation of wealth but otherwise they are like how my mum contacts me: “just phoning you to say hello dear”.
Legend wouldn’t be the same without that Hardy geezer as your main man but a diamond soundtrack help produce a dapper slice of 60’s London.
Definitely worth a butcher’s hook.
- Tom as Reggie
- Kray vs Kray
- The great soundtrack
- The annoying voice over
- The mafia
- Tom as Ronnie?!