- RatedM18 /GenreBiography, Crime, Thriller
‘Legend’ tells the real-life stories of the Kray twins, both played by a game Tom Hardy.
Set in the swinging sixties, the film charts the rise and fall of East End gangsters Reginald “Reggie” Kray and Ronald “Ronnie” Kray, as they plot a bloody and gruesome takeover of London's underground. Through it all, their relationship and brotherly bond are tested, due to Ronald's insanity.
The movie mainly follows that of Reginald, a gangster and nightclub owner. He meets Frances Shea (Emily Browning), who also narrates the film, falls in love and yearns to go straight as a result.
Along the way, he pays for his brother to be released from an asylum, because after all... we all know that blood is thicker than water is the be-all and end-all of all gangster flicks. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard's Leonard “Nipper” Read (Christopher Eccleston) is hot on their heels.
As an audience, the entire world is probably desensitised to the glorification of criminals in gang films by now. This one is no different.
Even though the film is about two (mostly) morally bankrupt individuals, it's rather entertaining to see them swap roughhousing rival gangsters for the glitz and glamour of rubbing shoulders with the rich and the famous of the sixties in their own nightclub.
Eventually, Ronnie's psychotic behaviour and thirst for violence proves to be a major stumbling block for Reggie's business plans and own relationship with Frances.
IMPENDING SENSE OF DOOM THROUGHOUT
Unfortunately, that's where the interesting bits end. As far as gangster films go, ‘Legend’ is a little bit of a cliche.
Far too often, the film prefers to focus on the Reggie/Frances romance, which makes for a few sweet moments but nothing else. This may be just an aftereffect that's a common problem of many “real-life” retellings.
There's a sense of inevitable doom to everything. Reggie and Frances? Doomed.
Reggie's Michael Corleone-esque attempts to go straight? Doomed.
Reggie and Ronnie, doubly, not triply doomed because of gangsters and their stubborn code.
ALL ON HARDY
Ultimately, the film rests on Tom Hardy's wide shoulders.
For the most part, he rises to the occasion.
Ably playing both lead roles, Hardy easily alternates between the suave and conflicted Reggie and Ronnie's crazy eyes and random rumblings with ease.
It is to his credit that even though he doesn't have a lot of great material to work with here, he's still absolutely magnetic overtime he's on screen.
Despite its lack of dramatic tension and other flaws, ‘Legend’ serves its purpose as a showcase of Tom Hardy's remarkable range and talent, making it a worthwhile, if not entirely satisfying watch.
'Legend' opens in Singapore 12 November 2015