<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Brian Helgeland. Starring Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, Taron Egerton, Tara Fitzgerald, Sam Spruell, Colin Morgan
Running Time: 2 hours 11 minutes
Tom Hardy delivers a good performance in his double role as the infamous Kray brothers of East London.
There’s a 1990 film called The Krays about twin brothers who were notorious gangsters in London in the 1950s and 60s. The film did well but actual twins Martin and Gary Kemp played the brothers. In Legend, Tom Hardy takes on the challenge of playing both brothers himself in a double role that works brilliantly.
Even though Ronald and Reginald Kray (Tom Hardy) are twins they are not very alike. Reginald is the quintessential good looking gangster, suave and sophisticated, but shrewd as well. Ronald is his bespectacled and slightly chubbier twin brother with a mental disorder. And while Reggie prefers the girls, Ron prefers the boys and doesn’t hide it. The only thing the two have in common is a love of family and violence.
Frances (Emily Browning) is the sister of one of their associates and she is smitten by Reggie who sweeps her off her feet. She probably likes the thrill of being a gangster’s girl since she knows exactly who he is before their first date.
What follows is the tale of the two brothers and their ambition to run London’s underworld and their strong-arm tactics to buy casinos and nightclubs frequented by the rich and famous. They have their run-ins with the law and Reggie is sent off to jail; this becomes a major point of friction between him and Frances who wants him to turn straight and legit. Left unchecked, Ron and his boys aren’t always the brightest bastards.
I’m not sure whey they called the film Legends since it hardly seems apt for these relatively unimpressive thugs who ultimately got caught. And the film does get a bit monotonous and directionless by the end, which drags to the inevitable conclusion. Also, you can’t find it in your heart to really have any compassion or awe for the brothers or Frances since they all know exactly what they’re doing and what the consequences of their actions will be.
Christopher Eccleston’s Scotland Yard Inspector ‘Nipper’ fails to provide a comical angle or a burning beacon of righteousness as he fumbles along unpersuasively trying to catch the nefarious duo.
Legend is successful because of Tom Hardy’s performance and some witty dialogue for the brothers. He plays the sexy bad boy Reggie wonderfully but his Ron is the icing on the cake. With his Bane from Batman voice and dark and funny persona, Ron is the intrigue in the movie.
PS: Read about how Sunny Deol is set to remake Tom Hardy’s Legend in India