Hardy shines in his duel roles but the entertainment fizzles with a script that suffered from pacing issues, and a lack of intensity.
“LEGEND” stars Tom Hardy, and Tom Hardy, as Reggie and Ronnie Kray, twin brothers who become notorious British gangsters as their criminal empire controls the East End of London during the 1960’s.
I will start by saying I was highly anticipating this film when it was announced. One of my favorite genres in film is that of the mob related crime-drama, thus with word of Tom Hardy playing the duel roles of the Kray twins, the potential was clearly there. After watching I can say I did find some enjoyment in the film, but honestly it was on the disappointing side and failed to entertain as much as I had wanted it to.
To start, the quality of the film is by no means a reflection of Hardy’s performance. He was as excellent as hoped for playing the twin brothers who other than their general appearance, shared minimal similarities. He was able to create a persona and mentality for each role to truly made Ronnie and Reggie both stand on their own. They were completely different characters, like they needed to be to convey the control of Reggie and the borderline insanity of Ronnie. Had Hardy not been able to give each role a life of their own this film would have suffered greatly.
Director Brian Helgeland also created a very nicely shot film. There were many subtle but very well shot intro’s to some of the scenes where camera placement, lighting and the score were able to create a soft noir feel to a handful of moments. Something that was a stark contrast to the violence of the lives the characters led, these differences worked well together in this film and managed a good balance. The era of the 60’s was also excellently captured with great locations, backdrops and wardrobe selection, yet it never felt forced, or overdone.
Hindering the enjoyment of this one for me, was all in the story. The writing was pretty good, and there were a handful of comical lines that are delivered with clever precision and subtle deliveries. But the path this script took was a rather boring and uneventful one. Emily Browning was great in her performance but the character of Frances was given way too much of the screen-time given her ultimate impact on the overall story.
This was about the Kray brothers and their criminal empire, yet much of the run-time was wrapped around the relationship of Reggie/Frances, whose subplot could have reached the same end with a much more condensed structure. This would have allowed more time to focus on the actual criminal organization the Kray’s ran, something I felt was under-developed and glossed over much more than it should have been. For a film to have a two-hour plus run-time and still have lack of depth in some key elements to the story was something that kept me from completely wrapping my attention into this movie.
The lack of focus made the story-line slow down way too much during the second-act, an despite the great cast performances, and appealing look of the film, it was simply boring at times. It felt like after a swift beginning, the rest of the script meandered around, consuming time without really diving deep into who these men were, and the operations they controlled. The only angle of this film given much detail was the marriage of Reggie/Frances and this dynamic for me failed to carry the weight of the enjoyment on its shoulders.
“Legend” is worth watching for Hardy’s performance alone but if you are hoping this film will result in a complementing mob-drama, you may find yourself underwhelmed. The overall feeling this movie gave me was that of wanting more, more out of the story which would have brought the most out of the other very good aspects this film did posses. But in the end, while there are some good moments for sure, the result was still that of mild disappointment.
– Starring –
Tom Hardy, Colin Morgan, Christopher Eccleston, Joshua Hill, Emily Browning, Paul Anderson, Sam Spruell, Chazz Palminteri, Taron Egerton
– Directed By –
Time: 132 min
MPAA Rating: R (For strong violence, language throughout, some sexual and drug material)