Title – Legend (2015)
Director – Brian Helgeland (A Knights Tale)
Cast – Tom Hardy x 2, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, Taron Edgerton, David Thewlis
Plot – The true story of the Kray twins, Reggie and Ronnie (Hardy and Hardy) who ruled the London crime scene in the 1960’s through both their smarts and there fierceness.
“I come here for a PROPER shootout! What you gonna do with that rollin pin? You gonna bake me a cake?”
Review by Eddie on 18/02/2016
I personally can’t recall from recent memory a film that so completely wastes its lead actor in such a lacklustre and uninvolving central story and in the case of Legend it not only wastes one Tom Hardy performance but two, therefore setting the recent record for biggest waste of an actor double bill in quite some time.
How up and down filmmaker and screenwriter Brian Helgeland (writing L.A Confidential one minute directing The Sin Eater the next) could make such a boring attempt at telling the anything but true story of the London criminal identities the Kray twins is anyone’s guess but in a film that comes across as a poor man’s Scorsese, its quite clear he struggled to juggle both the imposing and differentiating identities of Ronnie and Reggie Kray respectively and also struggled to get the audience invested in a plot that should’ve been an easy win if told in a proper and exciting manner.
Led by Emily Browning’s so-so narration we never really get to experience a true rise or a true fall of the Kray’s who at one period in the not too distant past ruled the London criminal syndicate with their mix of smarts and charms (Reggie) and psychopathic lunacy (Ronnie).
In these two men we get an in many ways incredible double dose of Hardy who does the thankless task of playing two completely different leads with aplomb. He suits the suave and charismatic Reggie in both mind and body and then does the same with Ronnie even though he forgoes much suability with a more…hands on approach.
It’s a masterclass of commitment by Hardy but surrounded by underused supports, who are mainly uninteresting and unlikeable side characters, Legend can’t keep up the pace with its on form leading man (men?) even though it at times looks the part and shows glimmers of a more rip roaring yarn.
When Tom Hardy’s unleashed; a highlight is a Hardy v Hardy club set fight, Legend becomes a darkly hilarious and entertaining examination of two brothers and two gangsters but despite the best efforts of its lead the film struggles to ever maintain its momentum and with a 2 hour plus running time of random events, mismanaged plot strands and a general sense of being lost at sea, Legend is one of 2015’s biggest disappointments and leaves us still awaiting a quintessential big screen treatment for the Krays.
2 lemon sherbets out of 5