Director: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton
Tom hardy as the Kray brothers in 'Legend'
The story of identical twins, gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the most notorious pair of criminals in British History, and their organized underworld empire in East End, London, bears close similarity to the recent Johnny Depp starrer 'Black Mass'. The difference being that this one is set in England and 'Black Mass', also about two brothers, one a politician and the other a gangster, was all-out American. This film is a true story about the terror unleashed by the twins in 1950's and 60's and as such gains your interest.
This biopic of the twins gains it's strength from Tom Hardy's distinctive assaying of both roles - as the psychopathic Ronnie and his punch happy, sometimes gentle thug of a brother who wears the front of a Club owner with as much ease as he does his knuckle drives and violent asides. It's an intense, well designed and credible portrayal that brings to life the brutality of those times.
The story is narrated from the perspective of Frances(beautifully put together by the enchanting Emily Browning) who goes from being Reggie's sweetheart to wife in the course of the telling. A delicate ingénue, Frances is fascinated by the attention and attraction that the suave though brutish gangster exudes and she is like a moth drawn to a flame that could well consume her whole. So basically the story is about innocence being hammered out at the altar of intimidation, power and violence. The reality of loving and living with the gangster comes home to Frances when she realizes that the heady highs that power can give pales into insignificance the love that she holds so dear- one for which she even dared to override her embittered mother's dire warnings. So obviously her life goes downhill just as Reggie's gets over the crest.
The treatment is poignant and ruthless. While you get infected by the poignancy of Frances and Reggie's love story you also feel brutalized by the twins' unsettling and unhinged quest for control. The relationship between the two brothers is portrayed with great fluidity.
The push and pull between them is depicted in full throttle. You can almost feel that umbilical cord binding them together despite their differences in perspective. Award winning screenwriter/Director Brian Hegeland does a good job bringing to life these two legendary characters from the past but it's Tom Hardy who commands credit here for getting his teeth into two tough roles, and marking them so distinctively that they remain separate and formidable even after you leave the theatres.
Dick Pope's cinematography provides the dark, forbidding atmosphere while the background score makes the usual noises to get your attention. The tone is harsh and unrelieved and therefore makes it difficult to get completely immersed in the experience.
This is a reality driven film, brutish in evocation and as such, might not be pleasing to all.
Watch the trailer of 'Legend'