Legend (2015)

(Video on Demand, March 2016) The problem with Legend isn’t that it’s a bad movie: As a fictional presentation of the true-life story of the Kray twin brothers that dominated London’ organized crime scene in the sixties, it’s a more interesting than usual take on the mob story. It provides Tom Hardy with a splendid acting springboard as he ably plays both brothers with very different styles, showcases sixties London, plays with the real-life absurdities of the Kray brother’s relationship with the Establishment and effectively structures itself around the sentimental life of the sanest Kray. The problem, in fact, is that Legend has so many great things to draw upon that it doesn’t quite live up to the potential of its subject matter. It often feels unfocused, occasionally hitting upon greatness in its best moments (such as when the Krays start physically fighting each other inside a deserted nightclub), occasionally flowing with wit in its faster-paced explanatory sequences … only to crash to a halt in-between the high points. There are also some unusual narration issues toward the end that create more questions than satisfaction by highlighting how the movie is lying. While not enough good can be said of Hardy’s dual performance, the rest of the film around him feels far more ordinary—which is curious given that Oscar-winning Brian Helgeland is at the helm. When ennui sets in, there isn’t much to be done to save the rest of the film.

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