Earlier today we brought you news of a bad review deceptively hidden within a Legend promo poster. With quite a bit of buzz around the Tom Hardy led gangster flick, we popped along to see what it’s really like.
Legend is a crime thriller based on the true story of the notorious Kray twins, Reggie and Ronnie Kray (both played by Tom Hardy) who exercised a criminal reign of terror over the city of London throughout the 1960’s; charting their rise to the top of the organised crime game and their subsequent fall from grace and incarcerations but also their undying loyalty and bond as brothers.
Legend manages to mix the gripping thrill of the criminal underbelly of East London with all the charming cockney wit and humour that comes with British mob flicks. The film has that rollercoaster of emotion fell to it by having you in stitches laughing one minute, wincing at brutal gang violence the next and in tears crying in between all of that! The highlight of Legend by far is the absolutely stellar performance of Tom Hardy, or should we say performances, as Reggie and Ronnie Kray.
The Kray twins personalities could not have been more different but Hardy nailed them both with conviction. In Reggie Kray, you get a cold, calm & calculated mob boss whose every move is for the good of the Kray family brand that he has built from the bottom up and to make a life for himself and his wife Francis by any means necessary. Making a name for yourself in East London was not easy by any means but Reggie done what he had to do in order to achieve this. Ronnie Kray however, was a paranoid schizophrenic sociopath who was capable of just about anything and despite Reggie’s best efforts, could not be controlled, leading to the brothers’ inevitable downfall from the heights of the organised crime ring in London. Regardless of their differences, you still get the sense of brotherly love and loyalty between the two. Dedicated to each other to the very end irrespective of what may happen.
We’re sure it wasn’t an easy task for Tom Hardy to take on the role of two parts who are the polar opposite of each other but he pulls it off spectacularly. You’d also be forgiven for getting flashbacks of The Dark Knight Rises & Bane with the voice Hardy uses for Ronnie Kray.
Another highlight was the portrayal of “Mad Teddy” Smith by Kingsman star Taron Egerton. Enforcer for and lover of Ronnie Kray, he is a shining light of entertainment even though he has a minor enough role. Despite a more serious and grounded setting in comparison to Kingsman, Egerton brought a similar charm and provided some hilarious comedy relief.
Disappointingly however was the role Reggie Kray’s wife Francis Shea had throughout the film. Played by Emily Browning, who in parts showed fantastic potential, it felt that even though the character had a vital role in the development of Reggie and had a major effect on Hardy’s character for the entire film, you get the sense that Frankie was kind of just there. Floating through the film for the most part. As stated, this was not down to Browning’s talents as she did prove herself when the character was allowed to shine, but did feel like a mere plot device in the grand scheme of things.
Filmographically the film also impresses with a classic 60’s style of shooting with all the perks of supermodern high-definition. The soundtrack and score are an audible delight also with plenty of chart classics from that era and includes an appearance by songstress Duffy, providing her vocal talents as legendary soul starlet Timi Yuro.
All in all, Legend is a highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable British crime romp. Hardcore Tom Hardy fans will certainly regard this as an out & out must-see, with a performance that this reviewer might even regard as an outside shout come awards season.
Legend is in cinemas nationwide now!