Double trouble is not even close to describing identical twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray in Brian Helgeland’s (Mystic River, 42, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) latest crime movie; Legend. The film, which is also a biopic, chronicles the volatile life of the Kray Twins, starring Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max,Inception) who plays both Reggie and Ronnie. I must say this is one of Tom’s finest work to date and he really did well to pull off a double performance as both twins. I felt I gained a better understanding into the life of two of London’s most notorious gangsters.
The film depicted the violent, but also glamorous, lifestyle lived by the Kray twins in London during the 1950s and 1960s. Violence, accompanied with fear and intimidation, helped the pair gain power and become rulers of London’s underworld. Their notoriety made them celebrities in their own right, it was evident throughout the movie that they enjoyed their high-profile status and loved being in front of the camera, always seizing an opportunity to be photographed.
Crime may have been a key focus in the movie, but it was more than that, as Frances (played by Emily Browning) and Reggie’s ‘love story’ added that element of romance to the storyline. This didn’t bother me at first but as the story progressed I had to question whether this was a film about the rise of the Krays or a woman who fell in love with a gangster. I understood that there had to be a love interest thrown in somewhere, but I felt that in this particular case her role was giving too much significance. Her being the key narrator throughout the movie gave me the impression that the story was about her and how she fell in love (which she later regretted) with Reggie. This often shifted focus from what the film was about: the Krays rise to power and how they gained notoriety.
As a frequent cinema-goer it’s always good to know you’re getting your money’s worth and I can definitely say Legend was worth every penny. If they were alive today Reggie and Ronnie would have probably given Tom a pat on the back for doing such a good job on his portrayal of them. If you’re a fan (like myself) of Tom Hardy then Legend is a must-see even if crime/gangster films aren’t your thing. The movie is available to watch at cinemas across the UK.
Last week Straight Outta Compton finally arrived in theatres and I must say it has made its mark, as the film shot straight to number one in the UK box office charts. The biopic debuted the charts with £2.4 million to claim the number one spot from Inside Out which only took £1.2 million in its opening weekend (Hegarty.T, Digital Spy, 2015).
The film details the rise, fall and ill-fated reunion attempt, of the american hip hop group N.W.A (N****z With Attitude). They took the music industry by storm in the late 1980s, with their distinctive style and controversial lyrics. Director Felix Gary Gray (Friday,Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job) did a remarkable job with this biographical motion picture as it was both entertaining and educational to watch. The 5 individuals – Eazy-E,Dr Dre,MC Ren,Ice Cube and DJ Yella – that would form the group, had no idea the amount of success they would garner just by putting their skills and talent together. However, fame and sucess is not always what it seems, and it isn’t long until friendships are broken and loyalty is misguided.
Besides the brilliant storyline, the casting couldn’t have been any better. Where do I even begin? The simple fact that O’Shea Jackson Jnr was cast to play Ice Cube was casting brilliance, and quite simply a no brainer. Apart from their resemblance (which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Ice Cube is his father) he did a great job depicting his father’s role within the group.
Whilst we are on this subject I feel it would be rude of me not to point out Jason Mitchell’s performance as Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright -he absolutely nailed it! From the jheri curl, raiders gear and thick gold chain to the high pitched rap voice. Mitchell did a fine job to really give us a glimpse into the life and death of the late rapper. This movie should surely put the relatively unknown actor on the map and on the road to secure more prominent roles.
It is safe to say that we have now established how fantastic I feel this film is, but in every analysis you have to look at both sides of the coin. The film did well to cover significant events within the group’s reign in the late 1980s to mid 1990s , but there was little and hardly any positive representation of women. They were portrayed as submissive entities who were either groupies or baby mothers in constant pursuit of male attention. The story suggests that the group reached a high level of success and popularity based on the efforts of men.
Nevertheless it would be silly not to find time and experience cinematic brilliance at its finest. The film is out across all UK theatres, so book your ticket whilst you can.