Review: Legend

Legend will be one of the biggest films of the year and is highly likely to see Tom Hardy, playing both Kray twins, winning awards.

As such I had high hopes for the film. I was not disappointed.

It opens with a female narrator introducing the ‘legendary’ Kray twins. We soon find out this narrator is Frances, Reggie Kray’s wife. The film explains the background to the Kray’s lives, Ronnie’s mental health issues and their work as gangsters. Alongside this, the costumes and filming and Cockney accents immerse us in 60s East End London.We follow their lives through what appears to be a love story between Ronnie and Frances. If you don’t know what happens this would all seem to end happily ever after.

We see Tom Hardy charm as the smooth, slick Reggie Kray, who invites our sympathy both because of, and despite, the criminal aspects of his life. We also see him as the scarier, more unstable Ronnie Kray. His portrayal of the two different characters was truly brilliant and entirely effective, we see their similarities alongside their utterly different personalities. The interplay between the twins offers us hilarious comedy, a dynamic that is all the more impressive for Hardy to have maintained on his own.

Frances continues to narrate throughout, providing the audience with a refreshing female voice and perspective on this conventionally male dominated narrative. However, we slowly see the seemingly happy and lighthearted situation begin to deteriorate as the Krays’ criminal lives catch up with them. This means Reggie’s relationship with Frances becomes increasingly strained. However, the Krays’ criminality is also their power and avoiding the repercussions of his actions means that Reggie can marry Frances.

Things go from bad to worse. We see both twins deteriorate and the once charming Reggie becomes as bad as his brother; we lose our sympathies with his sickening neglect and violence. meanwhile we see Frances sink into a depression she can only control through pills.

The following scenes depicting Frances’ fate were truly heartbreaking. In a cinema full of people I was in floods of tears, a surefire sign of a good film.

Those scenes and the remainder of the film proved an uncomfortable but striking watch. The story of the Kray twins is undeniably horrible, but like all violent killers they provide a cultural intrigue that is perfect material for the cinema; pair this with an actor who is almost a national treasure and we have the perfect recipe for an incredible blockbuster. This film tells a true story that has been enshrined as legend, and with a skillful, funny and moving portrayal of the rise and downfall of Britain’s most notorious gangsters, Legend is an absolute must see.
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