I very rarely write film reviews anymore, since I made the move from my website blog into my Film and Tv Podcast. However I went to see this movie on Wednesday night and to put it simply I was blown away.
This recent trend of hard hitting true to the history Biopic is really hitting a chord with the people. The break-out hit of the summer being Straight Outta Compton, who saw that coming??? So knowing we had a movie about the Kray twins on its way really got me going, Throw in a sprinkling of Tom Hardy and we are good to go.
Over the years i have read just about everything you could read about Ronnie and Reggie Kray and there story is a fascinating one. coming from very little in a time when people had even less, these brothers decided to make there own way and become true Gangsters like the ones they had seen on the silver-screen. There rise to the top was fairly rapid with there own blend of Cockney charm and vicious ferocity. It has to be said that they were not exactly "Nice guys" but if you fell under there umbrella, well you were protected, looked after even. Back in the late 80s they released a Kray movie starring Martin and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame, it showed the darker grittier side of the story but it looks like a movie made in the 80s so it was time to update one of most famous tales in Britain's underbelly.
The first thing that strikes you about Legend is that it is not an origin story, Ron and Reg are already at the height of there power, its more a tale of how they cope with being at the top and there gradual fall. The other thing that hits you is that this tale is not told by the protagonists of the movie, it is narrated by the female lead Reggie's wife Francis. An interesting twist on the Biopic standard I thought. What you are treated to in the 2 hrs 20 minutes running time is a fairly accurate portrayal of these two brothers round about when the wheels were falling off but it gives us two very different paths for each brother.
We start off with Reggie Kray played by Tom Hardy. Reggie is the smarter of the two brothers, Intelligent, Charismatic and Suave. His side of this movie is very much showing you that while he loved being the Gangster he had become he also knew how to keep it low profile and only resort to violent tactics when he needed to. Reggie for the most part kept his shit together but when he snaps well we get some of the best Tom Hardy you could ask for. Reg's arc in Legend is more of a boy meets girl sort of thing he is falling in love with Francis while trying to stop his brother from destroying everything they have built and....... Well you will have to watch the movie.
Ronnie Kray played by Tom Hardy is an absolute Psychopath. He does such an amazing job portraying Ronnie so much so that when he is off screen you are waiting for him to come back on screen. This for me is Tom Hardy's best performance I have ever seen and he has more than made up for Mad Max earlier this year. You never quite know what Ron is thinking or what he is going to do next. They were extremely candid with his Homosexuality in a way I don't think I have seen any other Kray story, they just went with it (sometimes leading to some funny scenes that I am not entirely convinced were meant to be funny).
Hardy took this movie by its balls and ran with it. I cant remember seeing a movie this year that pulled me in with its sheer intensity and spot on storytelling. I was fairly dubious when I saw he was playing both brothers (doesn't always work out) but you know what?? I don't think Hardy would have done the roles if he thought he couldn't. What you get is one amazing actor playing two vastly different roles and guess what? He does it flawlessly. I have read people saying his performance is to good for the movie surrounding it, well that's crap if anything he elevates the movie to a level of greatness rarely achieved in British cinema.
Check the end of this clip and tell me you cant see Tom Hardy as James Bond...
I suppose a word on the supporting cast. Reggie's wife Francis is played by Emily Browning of Sucker Punch fame. At first she was doing my head in, I didn't like how it was her doing the narration but after a few scenes it felt right I understood what they were doing and got it, Plus I knew how that story would end so it was just a matter of time.
The supporting cast was rounded out with some great British talent such as Jarvis/Vision himself Paul Bettany as Charlie Richardson (if you have not seen 2004 movie Charlie starring Luke Goss, Go watch it now) Bettany is great if under used. Christopher Eccleston is the Detective trying to nail the Kray's. Taron Egerton who you would have seen recently in Kingsman: Secret Service plays the long rumored boy friend of Ronnie Kray, Edward "Mad Teddy" Smith.
I cant rave about this movie enough, in a year full of massive box office record making movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurrasic World, Fast 7 and dare I say it Terminator Genisys. This movie stands up against them as a fantastically well made performance driven movie. Proving again that Hardy is far better than that piece of shit Mad Max movie would have you believe. Is Legend perfect??? No not really it does have its flaws but for what it was it was damn near perfect in my eyes. So i give it an 8.5... Does it glorify the Krays?? Yes it does, As it should.
For another good Hardy performance this year check out Child 44 with Gary Oldman as-well, or wait till a bit later in the year when he and Di Caprio team up in the Revenant.
A quick word on my Podcast mentioned at the top of the page... We are 365FlicksPodcast. We review all things Movies and Tv with the odd bit of Comic Book talk and Videogames. You can find us in Itunes or on any smartphone app by searching 365FlicksPodcast. We have many sections to keep you entertained and its a must for any and all Fanboys.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review.