THE LATEST movie about the Kray twins, Legend, has been much hyped in the last few months, but it is all a bit of a let-down, concentrating only on a four year period and omitting the brothers rise to power in the east end of London.
The story is told from the point of view of Reggie’s wife Frances, who struggles with her husband's violent life and urges him to go clean throughout the movie. Ronnie, the more unstable of the twins, slowly grows bolder and bolder and their empire starts to unwind.
Tom Hardy plays both twins in a kind of Goodfellas meets Parent Trap deal. I have always loved when actors play twins, a great example being Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers or Nicolas Cage in Adaptation. Hardy gives two strong physical performances, but does sometimes drift into his Bane voice when playing Ronnie, and is more comfortable as the charming Reggie.
The sad thing is that this is a pretty lousy script, which really lets its cast down - none more than Emily Browning (Frances ). She looks the part but the words coming out of her mouth are so bad you just cringe. She gives it her all, and almost gets away with it, but her Bambi brown eyes can only make up for so much. Some of the clichés she has to throw around actually made me laugh out loud. She is certainly no Carmela Soprano or Karen Hill. Legend has a very good supporting cast - Paul Bettany plays the Kray's cross town rival and is tragically underused. The always wonderful David Thewlis and the underappreciated Christopher Eccleston are solid.
Legend, wants, very badly, to be a British Goodfellas. There is an scene that is almost a recreation of the Copacabana scene. Compare:
with this from Legend:
I am sure it is meant as a homage or tribute but honestly it looks a Tesco value meal version. The gift that Scorsese has is to make you feel bad about enjoying the time you spend with his gangsters. He does not make them admirable he just makes them likeable. The problem here is the Krays are not that charming, they are not funny, nor are they in any way likeable. They are psychopaths, rapists, and murderers and we are being told in this film, “Aw, they love their mum so they can’t be that bad”.
One of the main problems is Frances being the narrator. She is not really involved in the main plot points. When it cuts to what the twins are doing without Frances present, it feels misjointed. How is she able to narrate the plot if she is not involved in some of the key events, especially when it is a specific plot point, that most of their dirty work is kept from her. It just shows what a mess this script is. Honestly, I am not sure anyone wanted a movie based on these two people. It goes to show it is hard to make unlikable people entertaining. A real disappointment considering the cast.