Simply put, ‘Legend’ was excellent. In many ways. The acting from Tom Hardy was faultless. He differentiated the two brothers incredibly well with every tool at his acting disposal. Reggie was the smooth talking and charming businessman while Ronnie was the unstable and violent sociopath of the duo. Emily Browning as Frances (Reggie’s wife, the films narrator and heart) stars alongside Hardy and is another outstanding member of the cast.
Set during the swinging 60s, ‘Legend’ focuses on the management of an organized crime industry run by notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. However, things become problematic when Reggie struggles to control the psychotic tendencies of his brother Ronnie.
Acting from each and every cast member in this film was phenomenal. A particular mention to the up and coming British actor Taron Egerton as Ronnie’s lover and partner in crime ‘Mad’ Teddy Smith. An audience response was almost guaranteed when he was visible on-screen.
Not only the acting, but also the entire atmosphere of this film was perfect. The odd humor sprinkled with brutal violence fit nicely with the films style. Of course it didn’t hurt that the costuming and soundtrack seamlessly blended with the 1960s setting.
The first hour of the film really had me hooked with beautiful cinematography and excellent direction. Unfortunately the film becomes slightly muddled near the middle when it slows in pace – but this hardly seems like an issue and is forgivable since it begins to take time developing the relationship between Reggie and Ronnie and Reggie and Frances, a very wise narrative choice.
Once the credits had rolled, I researched the true story of the Kray’s and was pleased to discover that virtually nothing I had seen was fiction. The dwindling relationships, the violence, the corruption and sexuality was all present in both fact and fiction. One area that could have used a bit more development was Ronnie Kray’s homosexuality. It was very clear in this film that his relations with men were more than friendly and even evidenced in dialogue, so it surprised me that he went on to marry two women in reality. However that was the only reality missing from the film.
‘Legend’ was great. It had drama, violence, action and dark humor scattered throughout. It is among the best movies 2015 has offered so far. I’d go as far as saying it’s up there with Mad Max. Ok, not quite but Tom Hardy didn’t do so badly this year – starring in both of the best movies that have come this year. If you can handle violence and are ready to sit back and watch as a bumbling police force struggle to pin very corrupt men, then this film is exactly what you’re looking for.
Rating: R18 Graphic violence and offensive language.
Reviewed by: Damo