Directed by Brian Helgeland and starring Tom Hardy, one of Britain’s biggest acting exports, Legend tells the story of the Kray twins, the most notorious criminals in British history. The biopic covers the ins and outs of Ronnie and Reggie’s crime empire, their fiery relationship and their ultimate downfall.
Hardy portrays both of the infamous twins and gives a brilliant performance as each; though aided by prosthetics when playing Ronnie, his performances are so opposing and polar that even with a lack of makeup and prosthetics, the film would still be up there with some of Hardy’s best performances.
The violence at the start of the film could be seen as problematic as it seems to come across as almost slapstick, and though hilarious as it may seem, it could be thought that the film is attempting to tone down and condone the Krays’ crimes. However, the move from a comedic style into a dramatic one mirrors the progression of Ronnie and Reggie’s life and businesses throughout their most active years.
The women in the Krays’ life were arguably a driving force; their relationship with their mother (Jane Wood) is only slightly explored within the film, though it gives us enough of an insight into the relationship without driving the narrative off-track. All things considered, an interesting way to drive the narrative would have been to explore the idea that the real legend of the film is Reggie’s girlfriend-turned-wife Francis (Emily Browning). It does feel, at points, as if her story was going to be told in much more depth, but must like London in the sixties, the story was led astray by the Kray twins.
Legend is very much a film based on its star, and although the film itself can be significantly problematic, the highlight and driving force is Tom Hardy, providing a performance which could define his career.
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