Legend is a 2015 British-French biographical crime thriller film written and directed by American director Brian Helgeland. It is adapted from John Pearson's book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, which deals with their career and the relationship that bound them together, and follows their gruesome career.
It's only fair to start his review I talking about the man of the hour ( I guess technically the men of the hour in this case) - mister Tom Hardy; up until recently I used to feel kind of “eh” about Hardy as an actor, and my ears really didn't perk if you mentioned him being in a film.
Lately, however, he has started to rub off on me and why shouldn't he? Hardy excels at playing characters you absolutely love to hate, and he absolutely outclasses himself in this performance especially. Portraying the twins can be especially difficult as an actor has to make both characters extinguishable to the audience; Sans the obvious differences between Reggie and Ronald (Ronald wears glasses and Reggie’s hair is always slicked-back) Hardy includes the tiniest of mannerisms that make them truly unique, Such as the way in which their eyes move and the way their lips look when they talk. Reggie is beaming with confidence and has the charisma to match, whereas Ronald is repressed (for reasons I will not mention here) and at times is painstakingly awkward. Both brothers can be described as a loose cannons however, and are apt to acting out violently in a way most people would describe as insane or unpredictable; Those moments, despite being uncomfortable for some, are where Hardy truly shines and the authenticity of his characters is most obvious. If I suggested watching this movie to anyone for one reason, It would be for Hardy’s performance alone, hands down.
I'm also not always the biggest fan of gangster movies because they can become very convoluted and thus hard to follow. The Narrative quality of ‘Legend’ is very straightforward; there are a lot of details given to the audience which may require some pausing to absorb the information, but all of the details provided are important and easy to link up. ‘Legend’ is one of the more cohesive biographical films I've seen in awhile, and I think that's just something worth mentioning.
In addition to leading the story along in a way that makes sense, the technique of narration encourages the audience to make their own decisions about how they feel about specific characters. There is an obvious bias due to the source of the narration, but this bias is delivered in a way that fosters ambivalence towards characters that are just so easy to hate. Behind Reggie’s insatiable need for control is a genuine desire to protect others around him. Ronald - who is clinically deemed as deranged - Is resourceful and often takes on other people's problems as his own.
Like most biopics, ‘Legend’ it's not a perfect retelling of the life of the Kray twins, although it is considered to be a pretty accurate account of their affluence and resulting downfall in life. The primary events - mostly involving murder and death - are accurately portrayed, although some details related to them (such as motivation) have been slightly adjusted. The largest change seems to be involving the depiction of the romance between Reggie and Frances; Mild spoiler alert and a warning to the audience, but Reggie is physically violent toward Francis in this film despite the abuse being purely psychological in real life. I don't think this makes Reggie any less scummy of an intimate partner, but it is just one instance of dramatization amongst others that is important to keep in mind when watching this film.
I would recommend!