The true story of notorious twin gangsters Reggie and Ron
Kray, who ran a criminal empire in London in the 1960's.
Written and Directed by Brian Helgeland
Starring Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Paul Anderson,
David Thewlis, Colin Morgan, Christopher Eccleston,
Sam Spruell, Taron Egerton, Chazz Palminteri, Tara Fitzgerald
Based on the book Notorious: The Immortal Legend
of the Kray Twins by John Pearson
Given that Legend starred Tom Hardy in a dual role and was helmed by the guy who'd written Mystic River and Man on Fire, my expectations were considerably high. Legend failed to exceed those expectations because of a clunky script that neglected to tell the whole story of the infamous Kray twins. Instead, the film chose to focus on the relationship between Reggie Kray and his wife Frances Shea (Emily Browning), which would've been fine had that relationship been developed fully. By the end of the film, I feel bad for how things ended but I don't recall much of the journey.
Tom Hardy proves yet again that he is one of the finest actors of this generation with his unforgettable turn as the Kray twins. He was faced with the challenge of playing identical twins with vastly different personalities and he pulled it off nicely. He played Reggie as a likable but commanding gangster and he played Ron as a sadistic psychopath with high aspirations. He made this film an entertaining watch, despite its many flaws. Without him, Legend would have suffered even more. The rest of the cast did a fine job, though I can't believe how underused Christopher Eccleston and Chazz Palminteri were as Scotland Yard cop Nipper Read and Italian mafioso Angelo Bruno respectively.
I went into Legend with high expectations, which is mostly why I felt so disappointed. It suffers because of a lack of a single focused story to tell, which is a shame because the Kray twins are very interesting historical villains and Tom Hardy was the perfect guy to play them. It deserves praise for its stylized set design and impressive soundtrack, but in the end its a missed opportunity to fully realize the crazy story of London's most notorious gangsters.