LEGEND’ Film Review, November 2015

Legend tells the story of the late 1960s “Swinging Sixties” London Underworld; mainly the rise and fall of the notorious Kray Twins. The plot starts off with the Krays already in charge of the north and east of London, and the film shows how they took over the rest, and finishing off with their eventual downfall.

Actor-Of-The-Moment Tom Hardy plays both main roles: Ronald Kray (who was gay) and Reginald Kray (who was straight and also the true brains of the Kray gang). Hardy does a great job in playing both roles – the camera work is cleverly done to  only show one Kray boy on screen at the one time even if both are in the same scene, and the special effects are very good when both Krays are in the one scene together.

I was most impressed with how well-made the fight scene was between the two Kray Twins! If I had to choose, I thought Tom Hardy’s Reggie Kray was the more powerful performance, but his work as Ronald was still impressive. There’s a recognizable supporting cast too, with Christopher Eccelston, David Thewlis, Colin Morgan (from The Adventures of Merlin), Kevin R. McNally (from The Pirates of the Caribbean films) and Aussie actress Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) in the female lead role.

I had a couple of issues with this film though. Firstly, I’ve never been a fan of the Swinging Sixties. It’s just not me. I don’t fully get it (I guess that’s because I wasn’t there!) So the whole tone and setting of the film just didn’t grab me. And although the story line is reasonable, this film is brutally violent in some places. Realistically brutal. I guess I’m OK seeing aliens being slaughtered in large numbers, zombies being chopped up and even opposing human historical armies being butchered, but when I see stuff on screen that could just as easily occur this coming Saturday night at my local pub, I get a bit uneasy. A bit too close to the bone for my liking.

This film was obviously a passion project for the star Tom Hardy, as he was also one of the Executive Producers on the film as well. Despite getting most of the facts right in a historical sense and a couple of good performances by Hardy, this movie wasn’t “my cuppa tea”. I don’t think Legend is a good name for this film either. Others may enjoy it more than I did.

3 stars.

David Emms is an electronic engineer, a father, and an avid movie goer.

He lives in Adelaide