What a year Tom Hardy has had. He headlined one of the biggest movies of the year this summer, he starred opposite of Leonardo DiCaprio in another one of the biggest films of the year which may or may not nab him an Oscar nomination, and if that isn’t enough he stars in Legend, a film which is loosely based on the story of identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history who ruled an organized crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960’s.
A dual performance from Tom Hardy as the Kray Brothers is really all I needed to hear to see this movie, but unfortunately Legend is a movie that fails to live up to any of its potential. On paper, this is a down and dirty gangster movie and while there are definitely certain elements to admire about the film, they fail to add up into anything particularly substantial. A lot of this is because of Brian Helgeland’s messy and uneven script that is all over the place especially when it comes to establishing a proper tone.
Hardy is trying his best and he’s able to give half of a good performance as Reggie Kray but as Ronnie he fails to capture the insecurity of the character. And again, the script from Helgeland really comes into question because it fails to actually give proper characterization and depth to Ronnie Kray’s character and the result shows in Hardy’s performance. And while there are elements of a really good gangster movie present, they are never really structured and put together as well as they should have been. The story feels empty, the pacing drags and there just isn’t enough of a story in there to fit the film’s 130 minute run-time.
Even the style feels overdone, the film’s glitzy portrayal of 60’s London feels excessive to say the least. There are moments in the film that are enjoyable and very much in the spirit of old school British gangster flicks but all together Legend is a sorely disappointing miss.