Legend stars Tom Hardy playing the role of both the Kray twins, Ronald and Reggie, London gangsters who ruled in the swinging 60s through intimidation and violence. It also stars Emily Browning (Sucker Punch 2011) as Reggie's first wife and Paul Bettany as the Kray's little known brother Charlie. Directed by Brian Helgeland, screenwriter of L.A. Confidential (1997) and Mystic River (2003), this film follows the rise and fall of the Krays. It opens on the 15th of October 2015.
Told through the eyes of Reggie's first wife Frances Shea, she knew them best at the time of their rise to power. Though the Kray twins were gangsters, this film seems to focus more on the relationship between the twins and Reggie's relationship with Frances. You barely notice the existence of their older brother Charlie or their mother Violet, whose only role was to offer comfort in the form of cups of teas and cake.
The film begins with the Krays already established as gangsters, now in a fight for supremacy against their rival gang The Richardson Gang aka The Torture Gang. A bit of a gangland 'tussle' involving knuckle dusters and hammers erupt; at the end of which sees the Krays, Kings of the heap. From then on they muscle their way through to celebrity status working in partnership with the Americans. They rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and were loved by their locals, however Detective Chief Superintendent Leonard 'Nipper' Read (Christopher Eccleston - the 9th Dr Who) pursued them relentlessly. With their gang 'The Firm', the inseparable twins deal head on with power struggles, madness, dangerous feuds and a woman who comes between them.
If you're looking for a good old traditional gangster film, this is not it. The story is told with elegance and concentrates on the sensitive relationship between Ronnie, Reggie and his wife. With so much material available concerning the lives of the real life Krays, this film encompasses very little. It's a diluted version without any of the intensity that could have been had to make it a meaty story about gangsters. At most, you'll see a lot of stares and scowling from Tom Hardy, appearing menacing and crazy. Nevertheless it's still very much a watchable and well made British film.