Directed by Brian Helgeland
Written by Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri, and Taron Egerton
In “Legend” Tom Hardy plays English gangsters Doug and Dinsdale Piranha, I mean Ronnie and Reggie Kray. In all honesty, you are better off watching Monty Python’s Piranha Brothers sketch because that sketch was more entertaining than “Legend.” I kept waiting for a giant hedgehog to show up and say “Dinsdale.”
The movie was not only a bland gangster movie, but it was also barely a gangster movie. It was about Reggie Kray and his wife, and the wife is even the narrator of the story. A gangster movie should be about the gangsters doing gangster things, “Legend” has very little of that. This movie is what would have happened if Martin Scorsese made “Goodfellas” about Ray Liotta and Loraine Bracco. A gangster movie about the relationship gangster and his wife is not an especially compelling movie.
Making the movie about the Kray’s story would have been a more compelling film, in fact, the parts of this movie that focused on the Kray’s were the most interesting parts of the movie. “Legend” spends little time with the legend and does not fully use either of its subjects. The Kray’s story is essentially the subplot in the movie that tells their story. “Legend” needed to spend more time telling the Kray’s story, the rise, the fall, and everything in between. “Legend” has no rise, it starts basically in the middle of their story just as their reputation was reaching its peak. The movie also has no fall, it just kind of ends with the arrest, it barely even shows what Scottland Yard was doing during their investigation of the Krays. The in-between stuff is about Reggie and his wife.
What elevates this movie is the performance of Tom Hardy. Hardy delivers a performance that far exceeds the film that surrounds it, like Bradley Cooper in “Burnt.” If “Legend” were a better movie, Hardy would be a serious awards contender with this performance, but luckily for Hardy he has “The Revenant” as an extra egg in his awards basket. Hardy plays both Krays, and he plays both of them differently. Hardy gives each Kray different quirks and personality traits that separate them. While watching the movie, you eventually start to forget that the same guy is playing both of the characters.
If not for the performance of Tom Hardy “Legend” would be dull gangster movie, sans the gangsters.