Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Colin Morgan, Chazz Palminteri, Taron Egerton
Legend is the latest film depicting the rise and fall of notorious gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray (Hardy).
Much of the promotion for this film has been about the fact that Tom Hardy is playing a dual role as the twin brothers, and this is the outstanding aspect of the film. Unfortunately, the rest of the picture cannot live up to Hardy’s enthralling performance. While it establishes Hardy as one of the most talented actors out there, the plot left me feeling underwhelmed. It felt like it was building to something incredibly tense and dramatic, but it never quite got there.
The film has a clunky structure, and the audience is handheld through the narrative with help from a voiceover from Francis (Browning). At times I found this intrusive and distracting. It seems like the film can’t decide whether it wants to focus on the dynamic between Ron, Reggie, and Francis, and how Reggie is caught between his brother and his wife or the pressures on the criminal empire they’ve built, so by the time the third act comes along there have been a few subplots that have been discarded, and some supporting characters that feel underdeveloped. I mean, Paul Bettany is billed in this film but he’s on screen for five minutes, and that’s a stretch.
But if, like me, you’re a fan of Hardy, then it’s a must-see because there were times when I forget one person was playing both people. There’s one point when, as Reggie, he does an impression of Ron and effortlessly slides between the two voices. He’s utterly captivating to watch. The film does have moments where it matches his charisma, but sadly these are too few and far between, and most of these moments come early in the film.
Should you go see it? I’m going to say yes, just because of Tom Hardy. The rest of the film is middling, but he’s outstanding.