starring Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston and Chazz Palminteri
written and directed by Brian Helgeland
Based on the book The Profession of Violence by John Pearson, Legend is another film about the Kray twins, Reggie and Ron, of London crime infamy. Robbery, arson, assault, protection, money laundering, and murder. All the good stuff. If you are a student of crime then you almost certainly know of the Krays already, ruthless English gangsters who dominated the London underworld from the 1950s to the end of the 1960s when they were finally permanently jailed on a murder conviction. In their time they achieved notoriety by mingling with politicians and celebrities through their night club businesses.
Ron died in prison hospital (facility for the criminally insane) in 1995. Reggie was released from prison in 2000 on compassionate grounds due to terminal cancer. That is when I first learned about the Krays. I remember reading in the Japanese print news about Ron Kray’s London funeral. Contemporary criminals gave him a lavish hero’s send off. The idiots. Why are criminals always so stupid? Even when they’re technically brilliant they’re still morons. I wouldn’t be surprised if even to this day fans visit their London graves and treat it like a shrine, like Jim Morrison’s Père Lachaise gravesite, for example.
Legend picks up with the twins in late career. We see their violence, their nightclub business, we see Reggie’s marriage from beginning to end, we see dealing with American Mafiosi (Chazz Palminteri performs a great supporting role), and then we see the murder that was their downfall.
Tom Hardy's performance is outstanding, and Legend is comparable to the 2015 Johnny Depp movie Black Mass, in which Depp played real-life Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger. I think of them as psychopathically violent petty crooks who became big fish in their own small ponds.