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I Bet You Didn't See... Legend

Contains Spoilers!!! (And bad language!)

Legend is an interesting one. A bit different to other things I have reviewed here.

This biopic the story of the Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie (Tom Hardy, and Tom Hardy), and their reign of terror over London in the 1960s. It tells of their love for each other, their love for the gangster lifestyle, their mutual hatred for each other as well, as well as how they managed their lives around be hunted by the police and tried to keep their activities going with a deal with the American mafia.

Hardy as Reggie

Reggie is the brains, and Ronnie is the brawn. However, Ronnie only freed from a psychiatric prison through Reggie's extortion and threats. The pair run things together, with Reggie controlling "The Firm" with a friend, Leslie Payne (David Thewlis), running the legal aspects to keep the business dealings looking above board. However, Ronnie doesn't trust Payne. His mental state, suspected paranoid schizophrenic, leads him to suspect that Payne is there to take the organisation down. In fact, Ronnie doesn't want anyone to split him and Reggie up, so when Reggie marries Frances Shea (Emily Browning), he gives her a lot of abuse publicly in front of Reggie, leading to an epic fight scene in their club where Tom Hardy beats the crap out of himself!

Hardy as Ronnie

As the tale goes on, we learn more about the twins, their personal lives and their relationship together. Reggie is addicted to the power his criminal empire gives him, while Ronnie enjoys illegal orgies and parties that his own reputation keeps protected. Comically, Ronnie ends up with some of the best lines, getting really annoyed that a rival gang would rather ambush the twins in a ten-on-two bust up, with a brilliant outburst of "disappointment", as his brother calls it.

I come here for a fucking shootout. A proper shootout with some proper men. Like Colonel Custer and Geronimo, you ever heard of them? No. 'Cause you're too busy in your pinny baking fucking fairy cakes, weren't ya?... A SHOOTOUT, RIGHT, IS A FUCKING SHOOTOUT! Like a western. WANKERS! Fucking embarrassing, waste of my time. FUCKING waste of my time! - Ronnie Kray

Browning as Frances and Hardy as Reggie

What made this stand out for me most, apart from the amazing technology and technique that allowed Tom Hardy to interact with himself and beat himself up, was the human focus this film had. Most gangster films focus on the rivalries around, the fights and the gore, but Legend kept the graphic nature fairly minimal without losing its impact (WARNING: There are graphic moments, just not over-the-top moments) and it gives a lot of focus on the human parts of their life.

Read (Eccleston) confronted by Reggie

Reggie shows his gentler side towards Frances and her brother Frank, wants to make "The Firm" as legitimate-looking as he can and even has quite wonderful and sarcastic conversations with Detective Read (Christopher Eccleston) who is after the gang. We see Ronnie's state of mind shift and change dependent on what is happening and who is around, but he has some softer moments with Frances, and you see him indulging in the illegal gay scene, but this isn't anything graphic. This is to show how power and money allowed people to manipulate the law and get what they want.

This is definitely not one for the faint of heart, but it is a very well made film. Funny, intense and clever. You almost feel sympathy for Reggie at the end. It's well worth a watch and Tom Hardy shows off his East End accent, as well as his talent.

Tom Hardy (left) stars alongside Tom Hardy (right)... or is it the other way around?

Directed by: Brian Helgeland

Written by: Brian Helgeland

Based on: "The Profession of Violence" by James Pearson

Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis, Taron Egerton

Released: September 9th, 2015

My Rating: 7/10

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