Directed by: Brian Helgeland

Written by: Brian Helgeland (screenplay), John Pearson (book)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton

Legend is a mixed bag, combining undeniable technical brilliance with hokey pseudo-romance. However, framing the myth of the Krays from Frances’ perspective pays off by foregrounding the instability of this immorality tale. Inconsistent accent excepted, Browning proves ideal casting.

Undated handout photo issued by Studiocanal of Tom Hardy in his latest roles as Ronnie (left) and Reggie Kray in the film, Legend. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday June 12, 2014.  The film also stars Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Christopher Eccleston and is written and directed by Brian Helgeland. Principal Photography for the film commenced this week. Photo credit should read:  Greg Williams/Studiocanal/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.


The fight scenes are as painfully convincing as the period stylings are pleasing, though even Hardy’s two-faced performance is all surface. Reggie is impenetrable, perhaps intentionally, while Ronnie emerges as a grotesque caricature. Nevertheless, Hardy’s continual persona-switching is an impressive feat, as are slight overlaps in the twins’ mannerisms which subtly demonstrate their similarities despite the narrative’s emphasis on their differences.

Flashy production and performances don’t distract from the film’s flaws, though the American Helgeland nails the minutiae of British life. Legend may stick around for awards season, but it fails to live up to its name.