Legend (2015)

So I’m a bit late to this one but such is doing a Master’s degree. Directed by Brian Helgeland, famous for…not much really. He brought us Robin Hood (2010) but I’m not sure if that will help his case.

The story revolves around the Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie, infamous for their involvement in various criminal activity in the 1960s. Both are played by Tom Hardy, famous for Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). It seems as though he was perfectly selected for this role as his performance resonated elements of his character in Bronson (2008). If you’ve seen it, you should already know how well Hardy can portray more than one personality, particularly those that are contradictory.

Source: Bronson (2008)

Also among the cast were Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Pompeii), Christopher Eccleston (The Others, Thor: The Dark World), David Thewlis (Harry Potter, The Theory of Everything) and even an appearance from Taron Egerton (Kingsmen: The Secret Service) I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of him over the next few years.

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Source: Legend (2015)

Hardy produced one of the best performances of the year so far. With help from some clever editing Hardy was able to stand beside himself and become a completely different person. His facial expression was key in terms of defining his character. The way in which he stiffened his lips and sharpened his eyes when playing the comical but scary Ronnie was pinnacle in outlining the difference between the twins.

When playing Reggie on the other hand his facial expression and posture was much more relaxed, presenting the audience with a feeling of ease when he entered the scene…most of the time.

The film also gave me a good few chuckles throughout. A lot of the comedy came from the character of Ronnie who adopted a very sadistic and dark sense of humour that he regularly practised throughout the course of the narrative. The beauty of it was that neither the characters nor the audience knew if he was joking or not, resulting in a very tense experience whenever he was present. This is why Hardy’s performance was so ground breaking, he’s not just another actor being typecast, he breaks that barrier by presenting us with two very different and haunting characters that stalked the streets of London in the 1960’s.

Taron Egerton as Teddy Smith and Tom Hardy as Ronnie Kray.
Taron Egerton as Teddy Smith and Tom Hardy as Ronnie Kray. Source: Legend (2015)

However, as far as the narrative went, I wasn’t overly impressed. Normally films based on true events have a hard hitting element about them, leaving the audience gasping for more; but this was not the case. In fact, there was more than one moment that could be considered hard hitting but were just poorly executed and pretty predictable. The ending itself came rather abruptly and made me a little bit angry, it’s hard to explain but it’s as if the film didn’t satisfy my needs as a ‘movie goer’.

I also expected there to be a lot more violence involved and felt a little cheated when I saw very little, but this did help create the realistic feel that the film executed quite successfully. The portrayal of 60’s London was well presented from the set to the costume.

Overall, despite lacking in violence, the film provided an entertaining two and a half hours. Not one moment wasted. Every moment was as tense and exciting as the first. Using the time to build up vital characteristics and creating a bond between the audience and two very different twins, Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

Rating: 3.9/5

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