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TIFF 15 Review: “Legend” (2015) ★★★★★


I’ve done this only a few times when I had to rush to a second screening of a film due to stellar performance delivered by the lead actor. And when I am talking about the performance, I mean the one that’s almost close to perfection. But that ‘almost’ won’t apply to Tom Hardy’s best performance so far this year as a notorious criminal in British history, twin brothers, Ronald and Reginald Kray. And that I must say is something worth seeing.

Legend follows the story of the identical twin gangsters who terrified the streets of the East End of London during the 1960s. Their organised crime, influence, power and fearless attitude is something that made people afraid of them, while the Kray brothers must face the biggest challenge yet: themselves. Meantime, one of the brother manages to build a family that is now flawlessly making him face difficult decisions. But in the end, there’s always one end – no end at all.

Brian Helgeland superbly writes the script based on John Pearson’s book and adapts masterfully the story of twin brothers onto the big screen in a way that will make people to go back to theater and see it again. However, it won’t be so easy to do so as the film itself is full of violent scenes. In spite of that, it never feels wrong or too much, but rather necessary to describe the insanity and unpredictable behavior of the Kray brothers that makes the cinematographers to make a film about them.

Right from the beginning you will always feel Legend is the right film for you. Everything Helgeland offers is unique, the photography and cinematography is superb. It emphasize everything the way you could not even imagine to expect. It not only exceeds the viewer’s expectation, but goes far beyond to show the filmmaking process, how gangster films nowadays must be made. But of course, one of the main reason the Legend will make people talk about is the duo performance delivered by the great Tom Hardy who transforms himself into absolutely two identical but meantime, different characters.

Tom Hardy does a tremendous job playing Ronald and Reginald Kray. By seeing his performance you won’t be able to tell who is who. It is also fascinating seeing how Hardy plays Reginald, who is emotionally unstable, dangerous and uncontrollable, while Ronald is quiet, peaceful, but as hazardous as his twin brother who you would never want to share the same street with. Emily Browning plays Frances Shea, Ray’s wife who hoped with her love to bring a different lifestyle to Ronald’s life. But as it usually happens, there is always a good and bad side of relationship… Unfortunately, Shea must face the bad one….

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