I had first been introduced to the history of the Kray twins in an episode of the BBC’s Whitechapel. I hadn’t even seen the trailer and I went to the cinema simply knowing that the film was about the Kray twins, and that Tom Hardy had the lead role. What else would I need to know?!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Kray twins, they were essentially the gangsters of London in the 1960s. They owned a number of clubs in the East end and were the figureheads of organised crime at the time.
Legend presents the story of Ronnie and Reggie from the perspective of Reggie’s love interest, Frances. It may seem like an insignificant detail, but I really enjoyed being introduced to their world through the eyes of an outsider, and someone who was new to the sphere of organised crime.
Whilst there are elements of the plot that reveal Frances’ narrative isn’t always 100% transparent, there is a raw sense of truth to her narrative. She doesn’t censor her experiences or glamorise the gangster world, and I found this pleasantly refreshing!
Tom Hardy’s acting was incredible! I really hope that he gets the recognition that he deserves for this film. He plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray. I think it speaks volumes that I found it so easy to forget that it was the same person playing both characters.
Tom Hardy really made both brothers distinct in their mannerisms, tone of voice, even in more subtle things like their posture. The way he portrayed Ronnie Kray was particularly impressive to me. He didn’t make him a monster. Although at times his actions were frightening, I also felt that he was one of the funniest figures in the whole film. Although his humour is often masks severity of his mental illness.
At the beginning of the film I was expecting to come away with a very black and white view of the two brothers. That Reggie was the ‘good one’, and that Ronnie was the ‘bad one’. However by the end credits, the message is much more gray. No person is all bad, or all good, but a mixture of the two.I am aware that that sounds horribly cliché, but at the same time it is something that can be quite easily forgotten.
Legend is very dark at times; not only does it deal with issues surrounding mental illness, it also does not make any attempt to mask the violence of the criminal underworld. In spite of this, it is also incredibly funny and light hearted at times. Not in the way a comedy is funny, but in the sense that it has the kind of humour that every family has.
What lies at the heart of Legend are real human lives and relationships, and are ultimately what makes the film so moving. A five out of five stars from me!
(As always any feedback concerning my writing style is welcome, and I would love to hear what anyone else thought of the film if they have seen it!)