Like many, Tom Hardy is one of my favourite actors. He always seems to pick interesting roles and usually always delivers with them. His back catalogue of films is already very impressive starring in the likes of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Even this year I have enjoyed both his previous films, Child 44 and Mad Max: Fury Road. Legend however, seemed to be his biggest challenge yet, playing both lead characters – The infamous Kray twins. I was keen to see how this would turn out although I’d kept my knowledge of the film to a minimum meaning I didn’t really know what to expect.
As a result of this Legend wasn’t really at all what I was expecting it to be, I thought there would maybe be a focus on the gritty crime lives of the Krays. However, instead of this Legend is largely a quite light-hearted look at these brothers which progresses into a more serious commentary on their lives. Accompanying the unexpected light-hearted tone to much of the film came a lot of humour. Much of this was due to the character Ronald Kray, played fantastically by Hardy – but we’ll come to that in a moment. It’s actually hard to believe that such a person ever existed but this made the twins and their stories that bit more interesting, there is a different dynamic to it. Alongside the lightheartedness and humour there are softer and more emotional moments, these only ever go so far due to the already established tone of the film but they are still effective. Finally, there are several moments of violent drama featured, these always pack a punch and often end up being quite shocking. Few films can juggle so many different elements and tonal changes as well as Legend does it here so for that the film has to be commended.
Whilst I have tremendous faith in Tom Hardy as an actor I’ll admit that I worried that I wouldn’t be able to separate the two Kray twins as I was so aware that Hardy was playing both. However, thanks to Hardy’s performances this was never a problem. I hope he got paid twice for his work here as Legend showcases two of Hardy’s best performances to date even if his Ronald Kray voice treads into Bane territory at times. He really has outdone himself here and the strength of his performances make up for the few issues that the film does have as you find yourself just happy to watch Hardy act. The other members of this cast do well too but its two young actors who stand out the most; Emily Browning and Taron Egerton. Browning acts alongside Hardy in the female lead and holds her own beside him, twice. Egerton only in his third feature film continues to impress in another varied role for the relative newcomer. Both standout amongst a crowded cast and have much potential for the future.
The film isn’t short and at times it seems that there isn’t any overall focus, the passage of time can be hard to chart too. However, it has to be remembered that this is a biopic so there doesn’t need to be an overall focus and there is so much to enjoy, like Hardy’s performances, that its easy to forgive and forget this potential issue. The score accompanying the film helps with this too as the brass and jazz sounds suited the film well and really enhance certain scenes. The vocal talents of singer Duffy, of ‘Mercy’ and ‘Warwick Avenue’ fame are well utilised too helping to create an authentic atmosphere for the setting.
Legend, whilst not at all what I was expecting was exactly what I expected in quality. Hardy is tremendous here and is impressive in both roles, the cast support him well with those couple of young actors really standing out. This biopic is always interesting and it combines humour, drama and brutal violence to tell the story of The Kray twins in the most engaging way possible. Hardy can add Legend to his impressive filmography with pride, great job all round.
Rating – 9/10