The only thing better than watching Tom Hardy in a film is watching two Tom Hardys in a film – or at least that is the films selling point. Having mastered the brutish roles in Bronson, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises, portraying identical gangster twins, Ronnie and Reggie Kray in his latest film, Legend, seems like a walk in the park for Hardy.
For those non-British audiences who are unaware of their infamy, the Kray twins are Britain’s most notorious gangsters, who are known to be involved in; armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assault and murder (to name a few). The film Legend – in which is their status they hold in British history focuses on their organised crime empire in the East-End of London during the 1960’s. That’s the general premise anyway. But what the film does concentrate on just as much as the Kray’s story is Frances Shea (Emily Browning), Reggie’s wife at the time and narrator of the film.
No doubt the film is masterfully crafted; an authentic 60’s London backdrop, a near perfect gangster style, plus of course the digital CGI trickery that puts Hardy into the portrayals of both Ronnie and Reggie within the same scenes and frame at the same time. Don’t even ask how the fight scene between them was done …
Written and directed by L.A Confidential Oscar-winner, Brian Helgeland, the film is precise and pin-points its own depiction of the twins, rather than rethreading old ground done in the 90’s Kemp brothers version. With that in mind, the film begins during the beginning stages of their rise, without having to introduce their origins and follows the assumption that most people have heard of them.
Authentically capturing the tone of 60’s East-Enders, the cast is largely British. Talented British at that, with the likes of; Emily Browning, Paul Bettany, Taron Egerton, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Paul Anderson and Colin Morgan all shining the stage. But of course the centrepiece of the film is Tom Hardy’s phenomenal performance(s), where 95% of the film has at least one of them in each scene at any given time.
Reggie, who is married to Frances is the good looking one, whilst Ronnie is a little more bloated with glasses (and borderline insane). That is where the magic happens, Tom Hardy fluxuates between the two with utter ease. It is as if they are two different people. The speech pattern varies, visually the have differences – and personalities seem bipolar. But what they have in common is they are blood brothers bounded by loyalty, and an unstruck desire for power. Overall, it is a recommended watch.