movie reelist poster placeholder


Coming Soon

Reggie and Ronnie Kray were two of the most notorious gangsters in the East End of London back in the 1950s and 1960s. There have been a few movies made featuring the brothers with the most recent being Legend. Tom Hardy takes on the task of playing the identical twins, though each with their unique look and personality. Writing and directing this true story is Brian Helgeland who most recently brought to life the story of another “legend” by the name of Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42. This being an obvious different type of story, creates and new set of challenges for Helgeland who hopes to draw audiences into this chronicle of crime.
Legend starts off with Ronnie Kray (Tom Hardy) currently incarcerated as his brother, Reggie Kray (Tom Hardy), works the legal system to get his best friend since birth released. Reggie is the level-headed thinker of the two whereas Ronnie is more of the short tempered physical bloke. Brains and brawn might be a better way to describe the pair. Ronnie’s aspirations are more of the singular, grounded variety. Reggie, on the other hand, is looking into being more of an entrepreneur with some stability. This course is accelerated when Reggie meets Frances (Emily Browning) and almost instantly falls for her. The two hit it off and before you know it, Ronnie starts to feel alienated and isn’t too fond of what his brother is becoming. As the story progresses the two have more issues to deal above and beyond the competition and the legal system.
Director Brian Helgeland seemingly took an approach to Legend that some may not find favorable. While there is a good portion dedicated to the Krays’ lives as gangsters, there’s a lot more going on with their personal lives that’s covered which might let the wind out of the sails for those seeking a Scarface-ish gangster shoot ‘em up movie. It’s all about expectations here so in the name of setting the bar in the correct location, don’t look for an all out violent movie with little else. Relationships rule supreme in this retelling. On a major upside, Tom Hardy is up for the challenge. His acting is a flawless work of art as he jumps back and forth between the two totally different brothers. Everyone else is just along for the ride. Taron Egerton, in his first role since Kingsman: The Secret Service, was basically just along for the ride. All of the focus was pretty much just on Tom Hardy as well as Emily Browning to an extent. Even she didn’t do anything special but she also wasn’t a liability either.
The Krays were no one to mess with in those days and everyone learned it one way or another. Ultimately the two became their own worst enemies. Love hurts, even when it involves siblings. Legend deals with success, failures, love, heartbreak and everything in between. Audiences will have many different looks at what the two dealt with over the years. The double helping of Tom Hardy is the backbone on which Legend is built. Without him, this biopic would be mediocre at best. Hardy goes all out with his performance and it is a complete joy to be a part of. As a matter of fact, he’s so committed to his character development that at times you’ll find yourself wishing for subtitles. If there was such a thing as a “Cockney Bane” I’m pretty sure that’s who Ronnie Kray was impersonating. So with all of that being said, the Tom Hardy experience is in full effect and worth checking out.

Legend is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

Leave a comment...