Legend is the blistering crime thriller which tells the true story of the rise and fall of London's most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray, both played by Tom Hardy in a powerhouse double performance.
The Family That Slays Together Stays Together
- Legend review by Count Otto Black
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You rated this film: 3
The thing everyone talks about concerning this movie is Tom Hardy's extraordinary performance as both Kray twins, which frequently means that he has to interact with or even fight with himself. While it's certainly true that he does a remarkable job of making two men with identical facial features appear extremely different, his portrayal of Ronnie Kray (the mad one with the glasses) suffers from the same ironic problem as Philip Seymour Hoffman's depiction of Truman Capote. Ron may in reality have sounded as though he was slightly mentally retarded and had a permanent cold, but accurately portraying him on screen makes him come across as such a ridiculous caricature that it looks like bad acting, inappropriate comedy, or both. I sometimes laughed when I wasn't supposed to because his foul-mouthed tirades combined with utterly irrational word-salad sounded like an out-take from Derek and Clive (he even starts talking about "the horn" at one point). And it's impossible not to think of Monty Python's Doug and Dinsdale Piranha when a statement about Ronnie being a bit out of control is accompanied by a shot of him walking into a night-club accompanied by a donkey wearing a dinner-jacket!
Another problem is that this film is trying very hard indeed, right down to copying specific scenes, to be a British "Goodfellas", therefore Reggie Kray's wife becomes the third major character - in fact, the only other character who really matters - right down to narrating the entire film. Unfortunately, Emily Browning gives a very lackluster performance indeed, her narration in particular being painfully wooden. Though to be fair, it must be hard to bring much conviction to dialogue as abysmal as: "We honeymooned in Greece. The Parthenon had stood for 2,400 years. Reggie's promise to go straight lasted two weeks." That's not scriptwriting, that's just word association!
Too many characters who ought to be interesting badly underdeveloped so that we can concentrate on Tom Hardy's one-man show, which gets a bit predictable with its constant emphasis on the "good" brother being held back from reforming by his loyalty to his psychopathic twin, and what shocking twists there are come too late and are clumsily handled. Also, we're shown surprisingly little evidence, other than the two murders that finally send the brothers to jail for life, that they're running an ultra-violent criminal empire. Mostly everyone just hangs around in pubs and clubs talking tough and hoping Ron doesn't have one of his funny turns.
Tom Hardy's very impressive and everything looks terribly authentic, so on a technical level it works, but it's oddly unsatisfying, and sometimes even a bit dull. "The Krays" from 1990 remains a far better depiction of the same people and events. By the way, whose brilliant idea was it to give this film the same name as a dreadful Ridley Scott fantasy starring Tom Cruise as an elf who likes unicorns? There must be a few people who ended up with the wrong DVD and couldn't believe what they were seeing!
Hardy is phenomenal as both the twins. Thoroughly convincing as the two very different personalities of the identical twins.
I particularly liked the humorous side to the movie, and laughed out loud at many parts of the film. The humour and the laughs that Hardy provides as both the twins, in their different ways, makes it all the more realistic when they turn on the violence.
Emily Mortimer is great as the love of Reggie's life, Francis, played as a naive and fragile young lady. Strong cameo by Tara Fitzgerald as Francis's mother too, against her daughters relationship with the gangster.
In two days I watched it twice, liking it even more the second viewing, as I appreciated Hardy's extraordinary acting nuances even more.
Very good story about the Kray brothers
- Legend review by gazmb
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You rated this film: 4
I really enjoyed this film about the Kray brothers. Thought the acting was very good from Tom Hardy playing both parts. It gives you a real insight into the corruption and thinking you are powerful enough to get away with anything you want. Eventually you get brought down. I agree it's a strange title for the film and should of been something better.