Legend (18)

George Naylor reviews the new gangster thriller about the Kray twins, Legend

23rd October 2015

Tom Hardy provides tons of entertainment as he plays twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Brian Helgeland’s fifth film, showcasing the rise and fall of the gangster-twins’ criminal outfit in 1960s London.

The performances of Tom Hardy are the spotlight of Legend; as Reggie, he is a calculating entrepreneur attempting a departure from a life of crime at the request of his wife Frances (Emily Browning). However as Ronnie, he plays a violent, homosexual paranoid schizophrenic who refuses to leave their gangster lifestyle, and drags Reggie down with him.

Legend is a very enjoyable film; it’s shot beautifully, with vibrant colours popping to bring 1960s London to life, and has an accompanying soundtrack of classic hits which never stop, giving it energy and momentum. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is the next Scarface or The Departed; it’s not as strong plot-wise, and also less violent. With an 18 rating, its scenes of violence pack a punch and are extremely satisfying in a world filled of seemingly PG-rated action films. However, those few scenes leave you wanting more, and while the soundtrack provides life, it’s actually the scenes devoid of music that provide the most.

"it’s shot beautifully, with vibrant colours popping to bring 1960s London to life"

At its core, it’s actually a story of the relationship between Reg and his wife Frances and the effect the gangster life has on her, as well as the relationship of the twins as they try to balance life, business and each other. A lot of the film’s heart comes from Frances, who tells the bloody tale, and is possibly the only truly ‘good’ person among them. But while a lot of the laughs come from Ronnie’s blunt observations, it’s actually his self-recognised flaws which also provide soul to an otherwise nasty character.

Although maybe not the British Scarface some were expecting, don’t let its flaws put you off: it’s a greatly enjoyable film – go see it.

Rating: 4/5

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