Film Review 9: Legend


Legend’ is a 2015 French-British crime thriller film. It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland. The film is an adaption of John Person’s book ‘The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins’.



The Trailer


The Plot

‘Legend’ is about the notorious East London Kray twins. It mainly follows the life of Reggie Kray (Tom Hardy) and how he practically runs the criminal underworld of London, whilst trying to contain his ‘lose-cannon’ of a brother, Ronnie Kray (Tom Hardy), and trying to hold his marriage with Frances Shea (Emily Browning). The film shows the twins rise and fall in the 1960’s.


Narrative Structure

The film ‘Legend’ follows a linear narrative structure, as it follows the story of the Kray twins from beginning to end.


Directors and Actors

Director- Brian Helgeland  (born January 17, 1961) is an American screenwbrian-helgelendriter, film producer and director.

Other films Helgeland has directed are:

  • L.A. Confidential
  • 42
  • Mystic River
  • Man on Fire
  • Robin Hood
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Helgend seems to do a wide range of genres when it comes to films, and these are just a few, there are many more films Helgelend has directed.

The fact that Helgelend is American and both wrote and directed this film and was able to still give the film a very cockney feel shows the effort and research he put into producing this film as a lot of Americans seem to stereotype British people in film and TV as being posh or bumbling idiots, which Helgelend did not do.

Actors- Tom Hardy did an excellent job in playing both the Kray Twins. He showed a very distinct difference between the the psychotic schizophrenic Ronnie, and the cool EastEnd gangster, Reggie, despite being almost identical (Ronnie was a bit more porky). Emily Browning was fantastic at playing the beautiful complex character of Frances. She did a good job of making the audience fall in love with her and feel sorry for her, and heart broken when she **spoiler alert** ended her own life.


My Opinion

Being from West London, like nearly every other Londoner I had heard of the Krays, and this film in my opinion did a decent job of representing the twins. This is why it came as a surprise to me that the director and writer was American, because the EastEnd of London is very different to New Bedford, Massachusetts (where Helgelend is from), making it very hard to set the correct mood of the film, a factor that was extremely important for the success of the film. But this was done impeccably well. Also, the mise-en-scene was very good, as the setting of the EastEnd matched that perfectly of what it looked like in the 1960’s, and also, in one of the shots a very realistic animation of London’s skyline was included, to show how different London looked. Enough praise can’t be given to the mise-en-scene, as this was near perfect in representing London in the 1960’s.

However, the criticism I would give this film would be about the narrative. Now the film included humour, which is fine as it made for a very entertaining film, but it made the audience like the Krays, especially Ronnie as they found him hilarious. The problem with this is that it made the Kray’s out to be heroes, when in the film we see them murder, and Reggie rape his own wife, and in documentaries about the twins there are stories of Ronnie raping men because he wanted to.

Although it was a very good film, I just think they could have done a better job at the representation of the Twins, and show them in a less heroic light.

I would give this film 8/10



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