Legend is a mixed bag, combining undeniable technical brilliance with hokey pseudo-romance. However, framing the myth of the Krays from Frances’ perspective pays off by foregrounding the instability of this immorality tale. Inconsistent accent excepted, Browning proves ideal casting.
The fight scenes are as painfully convincing as the period stylings are pleasing, though even Hardy’s two-faced performance is all surface. Reggie is impenetrable, perhaps intentionally, while Ronnie emerges as a grotesque caricature. Nevertheless, Hardy’s continual persona-switching is an impressive feat, as are slight overlaps in the twins’ mannerisms which subtly demonstrate their similarities despite the narrative’s emphasis on their differences.
Flashy production and performances don’t distract from the film’s flaws, though the American Helgeland nails the minutiae of British life. Legend may stick around for awards season, but it fails to live up to its name.
CAST: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton
DIRECTOR: Brian Helgeland
WRITER: Briand Helgeland (screenplay), John Pearson (book)
SYNOPSIS: The story of twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, and their organised crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.