Focusing on the relationship between Reggie Kray and Frances Shea, told from France’s’ point of view as someone who knew him best, as well as the mental health issues Ronnie Kray faced and their rise to power as the notorious gangsters of London.
Genre : Crime/Biography
Country : UK/France
Tom Hardy : Reggie/Ron Kray
Emily Browning : Frances Shea
David Thewlis : Leslie Payne
Director : Brian Helgeland
“Come to Philadelphia! You see a nice girl, we’ll get her for you!
I prefer boys. Italians, sometimes Greek, but I am not prejudiced. “
“Legend” certainly won’t be remembered as a brilliant gangster movie. You certainly can’t compare it with a gangster epos like “The Godfather” or “The untouchables“. This film about the notorious Kray twins surely exhibits a successful retro look and shows how the brothers founded their business empire full of glamor and violence, and how it gradually crumbled. Partly because they were constantly watched by the authorities and also because of the psychotic behavior of one of the brothers. The best part of this film is Tom Hardy‘s acting performance. It looks like a rematch after “Mad Max: Fury Road” where he served as a defenseless blood donor and where he was outplayed by Charlize Theron. “I’m going to show everybody my capabilities” he probably thought. And so he volunteered to play both twin brothers.
It took me a while before I suddenly realized that I was looking at the same person. It’s creepy to see how different those two main characters are. Not just physically but also their personalities differ. Ron has chubby cheeks, old-fashioned glasses and a drooping lower lip so during an outburst of anger you’ll see spit flying in all directions. Reggie is the brushed off, athletic and more intelligent type. He’s the mastermind behind the whole operation and has both a charming as a ruthless side. But mainly the overprotectiveness towards his brother is a disadvantage. Ron is the unpredictable part of the twins. He’s rather short-tempered and needs to take medications to keep that in control. Most attention is paid to the difficult relationship between the two brothers. An astonishing piece of acting.
Don’t expect a lot of violent scenes. There’s only the incident in a local pub with a rival gang where the brothers briefly demonstrate their tough approach. Rest assured there will be some of them walking around with sore kneecaps. The rest of the movie is filled with the familiar “policeman tries to catch the criminal without much success”, short stays in prison, a slowly burgeoning relationship which is doomed to become a failure and the collapse of the Kray Empire due to a crazy brother. Furthermore a big applause for the scenery and authenticity you can admire. The old London of the ’60s revived again in this film. The soundtrack matched perfectly. And then there’s also some humor hidden in this film.
You can’t call this film legendary. It’s a mixture of different storylines. The ins and outs of a gangster duo who kept the underworld of London firmly in their grip. Connections with the American mafia is maintained in order to build up a money laundering circuit. The charismatic brother starts a relationship with the lovely Frances (Emily Browning) who hopes that Reggie abandons his gangster life. And the wedge driven by Frances between the two brothers is something Ron can’t live with. So he starts reacting totally schizophrenic. The biggest obstacle for me were the dialogues in a fairly heavy English dialect. Especially mumbling Ron was difficult to understand. The only legendary thing about “Legend“, was the world performance Tom Hardy had in store.