I don’t know anything about the “notorious” Kray Twins, so my interest in Legend is based solely around my love for Tom Hardy. Well, that and the fact that writer/director Brian Helgeland has been involved in some solid stuff over the years – LA Confidential, 42, A Knight’s Tale.
I’m roughly 99% certain that Legend only exists because someone wanted to provide Tom Hardy a space to just go wild. In it he plays the Kray Twins, who were gangsters back in London in the 60s, and each character gives him a chance to be someone completely different. And when I say completely different, I really mean it. As Reggie Kray. Hardy gets to be a charming, well mannered, focused person, and his performance is so effortless that it’s jarring when it comes time to lash out and, you know, do gangster stuff. As Ronald Kray, Hardy gets to be entirely unhinged, and it’s actually that character’s quiet, sincere moments that catch you off guard. It’s a neat thing, and I enjoyed watching Hardy get to play on both sides of the tracks.
As for the film itself, it’s pretty okay. To be honest, the Tom Hardy-is-great effect begins to die off about midway through it, and then the runtime seems to stretch on forever. The Kray Twins may have been a wild, crime-slinging duo, but you don’t really see them engaged in anything that you haven’t seen in every other gangster flick ever, and this makes Legend somewhat of a bore.
If you love Tom Hardy, see Legend because he’s fun to watch in it. Otherwise, I can’t really recommend it. There are lots of other gangster films more deserving of your time.
Tom Hardy has the most emotive eyes. I think it’s why sometimes he can mumble his way through a role. Even when you can’t understand him, his eyes tell you exactly what he’s saying.