Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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Legend is now in UK theaters (October 2nd US) and our Jordan Samuel has all the highlights covered for you with our ComiConverse review.
Being from London, something about the Kray Twins has always interested me – from the psychopathic nature of Ronnie Kray to their nightclub origins – they ruled the East End in the 60’s, so course this movie adaptation was a must-see for me.
2015 has been smashing year for Tom Hardy with Mad Max: Fury Road being the biggest action flick of this summer. He also appeared in the pretty disappointing Child 47.
I can now confirm that Legend is – at least – a cut above the latter, with immense acting skill displayed by Tom Hardy as he plays both Reggie and Ronnie to outstanding effect. Many other actors might have fallen flat with the pressure of filling two roles, but Tom does not. Each character feels alive instead of being copy and paste offerings.
The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organized crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960’s
Legend follows Ronnie and Reggie as they run their empire in East London, with rackets and robberies – this might sound like a very basic crime drama, but director Brian Helgeland elevates the storytelling with his signature style.
Helgeland delivers some pretty meaty cinematography in Legend, from the glistening London backdrops to dark streets of Soho. It really makes you feel right there in the 1960’s, making it easier for people unfamiliar with the duo to watch their tale unfold.
Legend does well touching on the bisexual Ronnie Kray, who dates Teddy Smith (played by Kingsman Actor Taron Egerton) another young man with psychotic tendencies. I felt like the movie did not do enough with this aspect of the twins. Legend is pretty disappointing in that sense, but to be honest the movie is 131 minutes long and had to tell the rise and fall of the Kray’s in a brief amount of time, so it can be given a bit of a pass in that area.
The dialogue player well, even though I did feel like Ronnie had a less effective accent here, with him coming across very fake. Maybe those excesses were done to showcase his crazy elements.
Emily Browning plays Frances Shea, the lover of Reggie, who causes the relationships between the twins to fall apart. Browning does well in this part. Sadly, we never see her that much in the film, which is a disservice, because Emily is at her best here.
Christopher Eccleston also appears in the film as Nipper Read, the police officer who wants the duo in a cell. His character is very interesting, but never really shines due to a lack of screen time – Paul Bettany is in the film very briefly again and felt pretty wasted. Again, the film may have tried to do too much in too little time.
Legend is a decent piece of history in film format, with some groundbreaking performances from Tom Hardy; however, the film suffers some plot weaknesses that will standout to those wanting a deeper story.
After Straight Outta Compton, 2015 has been solid for bio-pics. Hopefully, many people will flock and see this one and get in touch with this fascinating period of British history.
Jordan Samuel is the Lead Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: LoadingBa
Legend is a decent piece of history in film format, with groundbreaking performances from Tom Hardy.