Summary: Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1960s.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writers: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), John Pearson (book)
Stars: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton
Who would want to miss the chance to watch one of the greatest actors in today’s cinema put on a talent showcasing performance? I know I wouldn’t skip on such an opportunity. Tom Hardy has such a talent in his repertoire that every movie he’s in needs a different character portrayal. He knows it and anyone who casts him knows it too. Need him to play a gangster? Maybe two? No problem. Legend is the story of twin gangsters who wanted to rule London by taking over a piece at a time. While twins, there personalities and manners were absolutely different. Completing each other in various ways, Legend shows us the rise and fall of these notorious criminals. This story of Ronald and Reginald Kray, the infamous Kray twins, is adapted from book to movie under the direction of Brian Helgeland. Who? The guy who wrote the screenplay for the iconic classic in Hollywood known as L.A. Confidential. Now, if that isn’t enough of a tease to check out Legend, then let’s repeat that Tom Hardy undertakes the roles of playing both twins thanks to some cinematic magic. Those are definitely succulent ingredients to the one of the best meals one could savor. Right?
This movie would’ve probably been a real disaster if it wasn’t for one man. It’s definitely not the director, since he is probably one of the main reasons for all the flaws that were beautifully conveyed throughout the film. It’s Tom Hardy’s unbelievable double performance of the Kray twins that saved this movie from being a flop. All jokes aside, Tom Hardy really did outperform himself in Legend. It is an absolute pleasure to see so much flair in his acting and even more surprising to see an actor single-handedly do more with little he has. The differences between performances between Reggie and Ronnie is mind-boggling and you can tell that a lot of heart was put into the art. The clear distinction that he was able to bring to life is insane. While Ronnie’s mental issues and strong desire to be known as a gangster comes into conflict with Reggie’s subtle ways of business and his love relationship, the chemistry between the twins is singular in more than one way. Let’s not forget that Tom Hardy managed to create this brother bond between two characters that he is portraying alone. It’s like having multiple personalities and having two of your selves come in a mutual and genuine bond. Talk about a challenge. Then again, Tom Hardy will push any boundaries in order to put on a show that we’ll never forget.
However, we all know how family and business are two spheres that are better left separate. While the twins had similar interests on certain points, they still had differences on several other subjects. Even if the plot of the movie was a mess and hardly ever managed to maintain a tone of fear and terror as it should’ve, it was still possible to see how the Kray twins were a force of nature that no individual could go up against. If the plot had find a personality of its own, unlike its faceless self that it is, Legend could’ve went down in history as a magnificent biopic. The problems I especially had lied in the unnecessary scenes, the drastic change in sub-plots that made some scenes awkward because of both the writing and the execution, the heavy emphasis on the relationship between Reggie and Frances and the annoying narration by Frances as well. Although it could be interesting at times to see these moments, I often felt like they either took too long or were out of place. In fact, these flaws, in my opinion, led to some problems in dialogue. Some of the relationships between characters felt like they came right out of the blue because of how the things developed. It’s as if we had missed some parts regarding the thoughts, motives and feelings of certain character.
Tom Hardy alone is a reason to watch this movie. I cannot accentuate enough how unbelievable his performances as Ronnie and Reggie Kray were. He makes sure that every scene he’s in leaves a lasting mark on viewers. Of the two personalities, I have to say that Reggie Kray was my favorite. Just by a little though. The charisma, the style, the passion, the motivation were all on point. Did I mention his style? Holy shit. That’s one gangster I’d want to be. The kind that emanates “don’t-mess-with-me” through the way he walks and dresses. Thing is, I still adored Ronnie Kray’s character almost just as much. What’s even more fascinating, and probably useful for Tom Hardy, is how complex and unique the real Ronald Kray is. There’s a lot of things about him that make him a fascinating character. Enough material in the life of this individual for Tom Hardy to deliver something as stunning as he did in Legend. While flawed, this movie still deserves credits for its ability to seamlessly put two Tom Hardy on screen and giving him the freedom to deliver a performance of a lifetime. If only the plot had been refined and reorganized, Legend would have been divine cinema. Instead, Tom Hardy is the only who put up a divine performance.