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In London, a real-estate scam puts millions of pounds up for grabs, attracting some of the city's scrappiest tough guys and its more established underworld types, all of whom are looking to get rich quick. While the city's seasoned criminals vie for the cash, an unexpected player -- a drugged-out rock 'n' roller presumed to be dead but very much alive -- has a multi-million-dollar prize fall into... See full summary »
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The true story of London's most notorious gangsters, twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray. As the brothers rise through the criminal underworld, Ronnie advances the family business with violence and intimidation while Reggie struggles to go legitimate for local girl Frances Shea. In and out of prison, Ronnie's unpredictable tendencies and the slow disintegration of Reggie's marriage threaten to bring the brothers' empire tumbling to the ground.
Both Paul Bettany and David Thewlis played gangsters in Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 in 2000. See more »
In the final credits, the café used for filming, which is the actual café where the Kray's would meet, is incorrectly spelled as Pelliecci's. See more »
London in the 1960s. Everyone had a story about the Krays. You could walk into any pub to hear a lie or two about them. But I was there and Im not careless with the truth. They were brothers, but bound by more than blood. They were twins as well, counterparts. Gangster princes of the city they meant to conquer. Ron Kray was a one-man London mob. Bloodthirsty, illogical, and funny as well. My Reggie was different. Once in a lifetime do you find a street-fighting man like Reg. ...
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"This motion picture used sustainability strategies to reduce its carbon emissions and environmental impact." See more »
If asked what this film is "about", you can respond that it's about the Krays - and you can't be much more specific than that.
The possibilities were immense - it could have been about the politics of the Kray empire, or a character study into what made the Krays tick, or (probably what the film should have gone for) a focused story of the Krays' downfall. Instead, the film lacks any real coherence or a strong narrative arc; it essentially consists of a series of scenes which could have been played in almost any order.
Now, a film which deals with real events always has to strike a balance between authenticity and arranging events into a satisfyingly cohesive narrative. This can be a problem for films striving for strict accuracy, but Legend's larger-than-life, often tongue-in-cheek approach left plenty of room for fashioning a narrative. Yet the closest Legend comes to telling a story concerns the relationship between Reggie and his wife Frances. This was an odd choice of perspective (Frances functions as the movie's narrator), not least because the film doesn't really explore the relationship in any real depth - for instance, five minutes into their first date, Reggie and Frances kiss and that's all that's done to establish that they're "in love". Although Emily Browning performed well enough as Frances, the writing for her character was so bad it was jarring - she speaks in horrible movie clichés, in a way that no-one ever speaks in real life.
The writing is otherwise excellent, and brought to life by fantastic performances from the whole cast - but especially, of course, Tom Hardy. His portrait of Ronnie, though it constantly borders on being absolutely preposterous, is impossible to tear your eyes away from. In every scene, I was waiting for the camera to cut back to Ronnie so I could savour the performance.
Does Hardy's double-performance redeem the film's shortcomings? Well, yes - enough for me to say that this film is worth a watch. You will be entertained, even if the film drags towards the end.
But ultimately, Hardy's incredible performance is wasted on a film which failed to tell a story. Legend provides no sort of insight into Reggie and Frances' relationship, or the downfall of the Krays, or the workings of their empire, or, most crucially of all, into the motivations and characters of the Krays.
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