In 1990 a film called The Krays dramatized the life of two east London gangsters from the 60’s. They were twin brothers, notorious, violent and for many years untouchable. They were also quite psychotic. Those you who know Monty Python well will remember the sketch about Doug and Dinsdale Piranha which was inspired by the Krays. In that first film the brothers were played by two actors who were also brothers. This year we get Legend also about the Krays and this time played by the same actor – Tom Hardy. The film is a bit too long but I did have trouble deciding what could have been cut. I don’t mean to be too critical however. This movie is hypnotic and Hardy as both Ron and Reggie Kray is simply brilliant. Yet another possible nomination for an OSCAR. The rest of the cast is also brilliant and the story very compelling. This new film focusses a great deal on the romantic relationship between Reg and his girlfriend which is an interesting add on to the violence and psychotic elements of the rest of the story. The opening line is from the girlfriend who tells us she is going to describe the relationship and her love/hate relationship with Reggie. She says: It took a lot of love to hate him so much. Great line as it turns out.
The film plot follows the relationship between Frances and Reggie over several years leading finally and tragically to her suicide. It sort of falls apart at the end because the story continues after Frances’s death and it is not clear how she can continue to narrate the story however that is beside the point in many ways and does not really effect the impact of the film.
Fair warning, this film is extremely violent and the characters have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is no attempt to justify these two or their actions but there is no question that this story is legendary in London and ranks with any mobster/gangster story you can think of and I can’t think of any American gangster film that can compare with the Kray twins. I can recommend this movie to everyone and especially Tom Hardy’s performance as long as you can handle the graphic violence. Enjoy.