Directed by Brian Helgeland
Oscar winning director Brian Helgeland tells the story of gangster twins Reggie and Ron Kray and their legacy of the 1960s London Underground. Helgeland is no stranger to telling these types of stories of organized crime. In fact, he has made a business of them. And Legend shows that business is good. From the detail of London’s East-End in the 60s, to the incredible casting choices that very convincingly draw you into the personal lives of these famous criminals.
Tom Hardy has been given the challenge of playing both Reggie and Ron as a dual role. Reggie seems almost natural for Hardy to play. His true (and most-likely nomination worthy) performance comes from playing Ron, a schizophrenic homosexual with an evil eye, intimidating underbite, and loose cannon behavior. The facial expressions Ron carries throughout this movie are well enough to give any viewer the message that you do NOT want to mess with this guy.
Supporting roles should not be ignored either. Reggie’s love interest Frances played by Browning, adds the human nature to the always ruthless gangsters. More importantly, she helps to show and remind any viewer that once you enter the criminal life, there is no other life after.
The story focuses like any other gangster movie. Start from the rise and end at the fall as it almost always does. Foreshadowing is not needed as it starts fast with Ron’s release from a mental hospital. Straight to business after that. Parties. Extortion. Violence. All the good stuff.
Helgeland does a great job of cutting the fat of the story while not insulting the viewer. What’s so great and different about this otherwise typical gangster thriller, is you can the familiar comfort of every organized mob movie boss in Reggie, but the unpredictable element of his twin brother Ron. After the halfway point of the movie, you are always guessing if this will be another moment when Ron has an unhealthy “episode”.
My Rating – See It.
Watching this type of movie in a theater can only help your focus as the goal is to put you in the shoes of Reggie as he tries to juggle five things at once. There is a big benefit to Streaming this however. You have the luxury of rewinding or maybe adding subtitles to an often hard-to-understand Ron. Some people would find his character difficult to follow for this reason. Personally, I believe this was Hardy’s intention. Because this character is so mumbled and nonsensical, it only makes you that much more afraid of him.