Classic Movie Review: Legend (2015)

Posted: April 16, 2016 in Action, Drama
Tags: ,


Reggie Kray and his brother Ron (Tom Hardy) are small-time gangsters in the East end of London. Ron is certifiably insane, and expects Reggie to look after him.  Reggie falls in love with the sister of his driver, Frances Shea. (Emily Browning) Reggie tries to convince Frances that he’s not a gangster by buying a nightclub.  Reggie runs the club successfully, until he learns he has to go to jail for 6 months for a prior conviction.  While Reggie is in jail, his brother Ron almost ruins the Reggie’s club with his erratic behavior.  Reggie’s greatest competition is the Richardson Gang, Eddie (Martin McCreadie) and his brother Charlie. (Paul Bettany)  When the Eddie and Charlie are sent to jail, London was left wide open for gangsters, and The Krays step into the void.  Reggie does such a good job managing the club, he gets the attention of Angelo Bruno (Chazz Palmintieri) an associate of Meyer Lansky.  Lansky wants to co-own a club with Reggie, but Bruno warns Reggie of Ron’s erratic behavior.  Ironically, it’s Ron’s erratic behavior that that frees the Kray brothers from government scrutiny.  The mob life takes a toll on Frances, who repeatedly implores Reggie to quit the mob life, does he listen?  Does Ron’s continued erratic behavior land the Krays in trouble?

This is a great movie about two gangsters I’ve never heard of, the Kray brothers.  Every time the viewer thinks the movie is glamorizing the mob life, something jarring happens to the Kray brothers or Frances, and the viewer is dragged from the fantasy of the glamorous mob life into the harsh reality of what organized crime really looks like. A scene near the end of the movie is exceedingly violent, but also true to life. This movie did not pull any punches, that is what makes it so good.

I am amazed that Tom Hardy Was not nominated for this performance.  He made each twin distinct in voice patterns and mannerisms so that the viewer sees them as two different people not one actor playing twins.  And then, when the viewer thinks each character is set, Hardy turns the tables and makes the viewer wonder if either of the Kray twins is in anyway sane.  It’s a standout performance.  I liked Matt Damon in The Martian, but Tom Hardy was better.  I will wait to comment on Leo’s performance in The Revenant. A nice surprise was Emily Browning as Frances, she delivers an emotionally complex performance, highlighting the rollercoaster life of a mobster’s spouse. The rest of the cast was a mostly British ensemble cast that fits the movie nicely.

There is nothing outstanding about the direction, the pacing was good, the acting was good throughout.  Brian Helgeland is both director and writer, and he directed both LA Confidential and Mystic River, so he definitely knows his way around the crime drama genre.

Legend:  A hale and hardy performance from Tom.

  1. Gary says:

    I totally second this. Hardy did an outstanding job playing both Kray twins! He definitely should have been nominated for it…

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