Tom Hardy portrays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Brian Helgeland’s brutal portrait of the notorious gangsters.
One helping of the London-born leading man, with his imposing physical presence and willingness to delve into the darkest recesses of the human psyche, is usually an emotionally bruising treat.
A double dose of Hardy should be an overflowing feast for the senses.
Surprisingly, the neat gimmick of casting the same actor in dual roles proves an almighty distraction.
Using the visual shorthand of a pair of spectacles to distinguish between the two Krays, Hardy plays Ronnie as a blackly humorous psychopath, who seems to be one giggle shy of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Reggie, as a dutiful son, always puts family ties ahead of personal desires.
Based on the book The Profession of Violence by John Pearson, Legend captures the fashions and sounds of 1950s and ’60s London with aplomb, but the abrupt shifts in pace and tone are deeply discomfiting.
The running time drags in places but it’s hard to tear your eyes from the screen as the film seems to be careening wildly out of control.
Legend (18) Drama/Action. Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Christopher Eccleston. Director: Brian Helgeland.