JUST FILMS & THAT: We take a look at Legend from 2015
Here, we’ll be taking a few minutes out of our day to celebrate what we think might be an underrated, under-appreciated or under-seen film. So let’s take a look at Legend from 2015, starring the brilliant Tom Hardy.
Just Films & That is a podcast that celebrates the films we feel deserve a little bit more love.
For this instalment, we’ll be diving into Legend from 2015. The film is a biographical crime thriller about the Kray twins, and is an adaptation of the book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins.
I chose this film because I think it is underrated. It received a score of 6.9 out of 10 on IMDB. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience awarded the film 59% out of 100, with the critics scoring it 61%.
Warning: this review will contain some spoilers and talks about the themes of the film, which some readers may find distressing
One of the most impressive things about this film is Tom Hardy. I may be slightly biased in this (though I will try to be as democratic as possible..) but as far as I’m concerned, Hardy has never given a bad performance.
Or if he has, I have yet to see it.
And you’re not only getting Hardy once in this. You’re getting a double dose as he takes on the mammoth task of taking on both lead roles, Ronnie & Reggie Kray.
There is so much riding on one actor’s shoulders. If he becomes ill, injured or can’t film for some reason, that would be a huge set back for the studio. It feels like it was a huge risk to pin so much on one man, but he nailed it.
Of course Ronnie & Reggie are twins, but they are very different in many ways. The way they hold themselves, the way they speak, their facial movements and expressions, and even the way they walk are all quite distinct and different from one another.
This means it wasn’t just a case of Hardy essentially playing the same bloke but with two different scripts to learn. He plays two very different characters that just happen to look the same.
To make this work, we have an okay-ish use of CGI when Ronnie & Reggie are face to face in any particular scene, or body doubles will sometimes step in. There is one scene in particular where Ronnie & Reggie get into a spot of fisticuffs with each other - scenes like this will have had to have been filmed at least twice over from different points of view.
The film looks wonderful. Our leading cast are immaculately groomed and well dressed, driving the fanciest cars around a spotlessly clean London.
The locations, the props and the costume, combined with some brilliant cinematography and camera work, really add a touch of glamour to the story. Josh thought that at times this was inappropriate, due to the story being based on two very real, very dangerous criminals, and in theory I agree with his thoughts.
However, in my opinion, as the story seems to be getting told through the eyes of Reggie’s wife Frances Shea (Emily Browning) then this distortion of what they were really like is to be expected.
The unreliable narrator
The film starts with narration from Frances, leading you to believe that this is her story. She is pulled into this criminal world when she falls in love with the inappropriate suitor, Reggie.
She loves him dearly, even though at times he makes her miserable, and is sexually violent towards her.
Tragically, she takes her own life during the film. This left me believing that Frances is in fact an unreliable narrator. By the time she is relaying the events of the film to the audience, she is already dead, but we are seeing the film through her eyes.
What we see is a polished version of the events. It’s how she remembers them, or how she chooses to remember them. I mean come on, London has never looked that clean. But what we are watching isn’t a realistic portrayal of what happened. It’s how a troubled young woman’s ghost is remembering them. How she remembers the man that she loved, and so there’s a bit of shine to everything.
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think? You can get in touch with the podcast via social media, search Just Films & That on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok! And let us know what you think about Legend, or any of the films we have covered.
If you have a suggestion for an underrated film that we should take a look at, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
The full podcast episode on Legend is available here through this link, or wherever you get your podcasts!
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