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Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Paul Anderson, Taron Egerton & Christopher Eccleston
What can you say about the Kray twins that hasn’t been said before? Their stories are both horrific and legendary. They truly did rule the London crime scene with an iron fist throughout the 50s & 60. London is a city that I love yet I’ve never been to the hotspots that the Krays were most associated with within the East End area of London, maybe I might check it out next year. This film has a unique dynamic with Tom Hardy playing the roles of both Ronnie & Reggie, very few films have done that so it was always interesting to see how he manages to balance the two roles.
The film begins with the Krays at top of their game so no backstory of their childhood in war time London or even their rise to power. The focus is mainly centred on the younger of the two, Reggie. Reggie has everything going for him but is held back by his older brother, Ronnie. Reggie is trying to do everything possible to seek control over Ronnie’s psychotic tendencies. Their life in crime would eventually lead to imprisonment for life in 1969.
Tom Hardy is a great actor. No question about it. Personally, I wasn’t a massive fan of his for his portrayal of Bane in Dark Knight Rises, the accent just came across as comical rather than intimidating. You get to see both sides of the coin here as the Kray twins. Reggie is a conflicted charmer whose goal to move away from the life of crime but it’s held back by his loyalty to his psychotic brother. I wasn’t convinced by his version of Ronnie Kray. It seems a bit over the top at times. With his outlandish tricks, wacky voice and thousand yard stare, it’s as if he was being played for laughs. From all the Ronnie Kray stories I’ve read, he’s a terrifying, sadistic lunatic with a tortured soul. Instead, he comes across as the pantomime villain. The police are simply clowns with the Krays outdoing them at every opportunity given.
Over key events displayed here are the infamous shooting at the Blind Beggar pub, Ronnie getting involved with rent boys, the stabbing of Jack ‘The Hat’ and the deal with the New York mafia.
There’s this big brawl scene in a pub which is so cartoonish you half expect to see animated stars spinning around each busted head. With the film taking place at the height of their heyday, their brief time at the top of London’s underbelly seems like a fluke.
If you want to see a good Krays film, look no further than Peter Medak’s superior 1990 Krays movie. Would I recommend this one? It’s okay, nothing to rush out for.
Rating: *** (Aye, it’s canny like)