Star – Tom Hardy & Tom Hardy
Genre – Crime
Run Time – 132 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 6 Wins & 10 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £7.00 Blue Ray
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There are a lot of romantic myths about the Krays; like that they were liked by the Eastenders and ’one of their own’. But, at the end of the day, if you are making big money as a criminal you are earning it off the community you operate in and extreme violence and fear the chosen method to get that money and so the community on side. It’s the movies who romanticize criminality, no on else. Sociopaths tend to end up as criminals or politicians and the Krays certainly that. But punters love to go a long with that anti-hero image and flock to see gangster movies, Legend (2015) becoming the highest grossing 18-rated British film of all time, surpassing Trainspotting (1996). Crime does indeed pay.
The Krays have been done before in movies, of course, memorably so by the Kemp boys from New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, scoring 6.7 on the Imdb. But Tom Hardy is such a watchable and exciting actor it was hard to resist watching him play both brothers in the 2015 film. Bizarrely this was not the only British film drama out in 2015 on the Kray Brothers, ‘The Rise of the Krays’ starring a host of unknown actors was also out on DVD. That would win at the prestigious Marbella Film Festival for Kevin Leslies lead role as Reggie Kray. These will not be the last films on Britain’s most notorious crime family.
Tom Hardy ... Reggie Kray / Ron Kray
Christopher Eccleston ... Nipper Read
Paul Anderson ... Albert Donoghue
Emily Browning ... Frances Shea
David Thwellis …. Leslie Payne
Colin Morgan ... Frank Shea
Chaz Palminteri… Angelo Bruno
Taron Egerton …Mad Teddy Smith
Tara Fitzgerald ... Mrs Shea
Nicholas Farrell ... Dr Humphries
Adam Fogerty ... Pat Connolly
Mel Raido ... Ian Barrie
Millie Brady ... Joan Collins
Chris Mason ... Ronnie Hart
Stephen Thompson ... Ronnie Bender
Sam Spruell ... Jack McVitie
We meet the Kray boys in the 1960s with their crime empire up and running and doing very nicely thankyou very much. Reggie (Hardy), a former boxer, is the pretty boy front of the gang and the twins have become an important and notorious part of the criminal underground in London.
At the start of the film, his twin brother Ron (Hardy) is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for insanity and paranoid schizophrenia. Reggie is not having that and uses threats to obtain the premature release of his brother, who is rapidly discharged. The two brothers are back on the streets together and pull their efforts to take control a larger part of London's criminal underworld.
One of their first moves is to muscle-in on the control of a local night club, using extortion, charm and brutal violence. At about the same time Reggie meets Frances (Emily Browning), the pretty sister of his driver Frankie (Colin Morgan), and they ultimately marry. However, he has to do bird soon after the honeymoon for a previous criminal conviction, which he cannot dodge this time, receiving a serious beating by the guards in the jail for his troubles.
While Reggie is inside Ron is in charge on his own and not taking his tablets, his mental problems, hidden homosexuality and violence leading the nightclub and other earners to be run into the ground. Ron has scared off most of the customers. On the first night of his release from prison, the two brothers have it out at the club over those losses, as brothers do. They are blood but Reggie knows deep down Ron will eventually destroy everything.
Things look up when the brothers are approached in London by Angelo Bruno (Chaz Palminteri) of a prominent Philadelphia mob family on behalf of Meyer Lansky and the American Mafia, to try to interest them in a crime syndicate deal. Eventually Bruno agrees to a 50/50 deal with Reggie to split London's underground gambling profits in exchange for local protection from the Krays. Ron is not to so happy and wants to chop em up and send them home in their suitcases.
At first, the deal is a real earner for the brothers but Ron's blatant violence and volatile behavior continue to expos the gangs criminal antics and finally gives Scotland Yard enough to go on, who open a full investigation of the Kray brothers, headed by Nipper of the Yard (Christopher Ecclestone). Can Reggie tolerate his brother’s madness for much longer?
Critic Benjamin Lee of The Guardian wrote a negative review of the film, giving it only two stars: a poster for British distributor Studio Canal displayed these, but placed them between the twins' heads, so that at first glance The Guardian appeared to be one of many outlets that had run four- and five-star reviews (until Lee himself pointed this out on Twitter).
I quite enjoyed this and the 2hrs and 12 minutes flew by. You can’t take your eyes off Hardy and his performance quite extraordinary on screen playing the two chalk and cheese brothers, the carrot and stick psychos. His resemblance to Ronnie is uncanny and the prosthetics spot on. Reggie, on the other hand, is every inch hunky Tom Hardy and bit too good looking for the real villain twin brother. I suppose Tom and the director decided they needed the twin brothers to be different for movie reasons and getting the audience on side. As I say there is no way they would like the real psycho’s. Liberties are taken in the film to make their lives palatable on film and one too many here. Despite being very open about his sexuality in this film, in real life Ronnie Kray kept it very private as he saw it as a weakness which could be exploited, which you can imagine. He still denied it to his death and no doubt what caused his psychosis.
Its $20 million budget was worth every penny and its look and cast right up there. Chris Ecclestone was underused as Nipper of the Yard though and so the cop’s role rather two-dimensional here because of, which took from the movie. It’s all about Ton Hardy and he nails it. The two Krays are in a lot of scenes together and clever how they do it. Emily Browning as Reggie’s totty is new name to me and sexy cut on screen. $40million back is good for a crime caper and no doubt did good business around the world as Tom Hardy has that pull - and you get two of him.
So yes, a good fun film for adults and grown up teenagers alike. It’s not suitable for younger as people get shot in the head and beaten with knuckledusters and clubs. The gangsterism is cartoon like and this more about glamorizing the myth than a new angle on the twins. But Hardy was so good as notorious criminal Charles Brosnan in Bronson that they had to have a crack at this, and they have succeeded as far as an entertaining film goes. Definitely on to catch on Film4.
Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (109,132 votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 61 % critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 71% critic’s approval
Quite a few
Boston Globe –‘Watching Tom Hardy nearly upstage himself in the gangster biopic Legend makes for mesmerizing viewing. It's also an object lesson in how great acting can transcend a film's limitations’.
The Mail –‘The movie's a testament to the Krays' ability to get away with everything - for a while, anyway. But it's better evidence of Tom Hardy's ability to do just about anything’.
The Sun –‘An alarming botch of a biopic on top of being an all-round cheesy gangster movie’.
Washington Post –‘Legend is the best movie of the year if your idea of a great movie is watching one of our preeminent actors hamming it up for two hours’.
Reel Reviews –‘Legend seems like a movie Scorsese might have made if he wasn't paying attention - the elements are present but they are clumsily assembled and the outcome underwhelms’.
Toronto Sun –‘It's not short of thrills, the biggest of which is Hardy's double performance’.
Movie Freak –‘Legend really does waste the majority of its potential, Helgeland never tapping into the story of the Kray brothers in a way that is essential or lasting’.
On Saturday 25th April 2009 I attended the Last Laugh Comedy Club at Sheffield's City hall as part of a birthday celebration for a couple of friends. It was my first visit to this show but due to its popularity it is necessary to book tickets well in advance so having had the tickets since the beginning of the year it was something that I had been looking forward to.
The Comedy Club takes place every Friday and Saturday night. It is held in the Memorial Hall, which has a seating capacity for 500 people and invariably always sells out. The acts are usually only announced a few weeks in advance so most people book tickets before the acts have been announced because usually by the time the acts are confirmed there are no tickets left. The acts are not major national names that you will have seen on TV but they are established stand up comedians that tour the circuit.
Toby Foster, a local comedian and part time radio DJ on local Radio Sheffield hosts each evening. The doors opened at 7.30pm and Toby came on stage around 8pm for a 10-15 minute slot before announcing the first act. On the night that I attended the first act on stage was Roger Monkhouse, son of the legendary Bob Monkhouse. He was superb with the sort of witty observational sense of humour that most people can relate to. He has lived in Sheffield for the past 25 years and many of his jokes and tales had a local theme. Roger Monkhouse's act lasted about half an hour, which ended with a 15 minute interval.
During the interval there are two bars that are open to buy drinks from. They are also open before the show begins from 7.30am until 8pm but they close whilst the acts are on stage. Drinks at the bar are quite expensive and since everyone heads to the bar at the same time the queues are long.
I can't even recall the names the second and third comedians that came on stage but they were both equally as good as Roger Monkhouse with acts that also lasted about half an hour each with a 15 minute interval in between and brief appearances from Toby Foster after and before. At the end of the night the tables were moved away and there was a 1980's themed disco which I think continued until around 1am.
Food is available from the bar but consisted more of snacks rather than full meals. We had a plate of nachos and dips for our table but baked potatoes and paninis were also available.
The Last Laugh Comedy Club also takes place occasionally at other venues in the Sheffield area although the Memorial Hall at the City Hall is its regular home. Tickets cost £15 and all guests must be over 18 years of age.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Last Laugh Comedy Club and I am sure that I will return again one day.