I was a bit dubious about this, I adored The Krays (1990) and it will always have a special little place in my heart. I was deeply upset about the lack of artistic flare in the Rise of the Krays (2015) and bemused to find out there was going to be ANOTHER Krays film in the same year but this one I had a little bit more hope for as it has a great actor playing both brothers, now Tom Hardy is an amazing actor but can he really play both brothers? Basic answer is Yes! But it doesn’t save the movie.
So this angle with this cult gangster twins of London flick, centres more around the differences between boys and in particular Ronnie (Tom Hardy) mental health and all told from the perspective of Reggie’s (also Tom Hardy) stunning wife Frances (Emily Browning). Based on the novel Profession of Violence by John Pearson and pushes the boundaries and limitations of film making by using Tom Hardy’s mesmerizing acting skills to play both twins interactively.
Written and skillfully directed by Brian Helgeland the film is visually stunning, often seeming more like a London version of Goodfellas (1990) there is an immense degree of glitz and smooth gangers charm, sudden smacked down to earth by a trail of bloody bodies and outrageous comments from one of the twins, more than often Ronnie as he declares his sexuality in vulgar ways and isn’t afraid to vent his anger on anyone who crosses his confused path as the identical twins do their part in terrorising london during the swinging 50’s and 60’s.
Taking the unexpected path taken by the filmmakers to have the entire film narrated by the late Frances (Browning), the wife of Reggie Kray, she committed suicide in 1967, and narrates the film from beyond the grave, her sentiments give the film a very positive and feminine feel to it but adds in curious events that are totally fabricated.
Hardy is extremely accomplished and breezes through both characters, he seems to be on a mission to play all of the British Crime Legends, his amazing arty portral of Charles Bronson in the 2008 cult flick by Nicolas Winding Refn was outstanding and again he’s hit the sweet spot, but sadly it’s all of the other junk that lets the film down, it rapidly skips from scene to scene often without much connection or explanation, it’s just myriad of experiences that loosely follow a timeline. Each scene is golden but the movie just doesn’t flow… and some great actors were totally blow off with small bit parts including David Thewlis who played the lively Krays business manager who is hardly ever heard, and the Det. Super Leonard “Nipper” Read who in charge of taking down the brothers who has a measly few scenes but is graced by Christopher Eccleston and often looked over. Alongside Hardy’s sterling performance Browning comes across as bland and fairly forgettable, and it’s shame the movie makers didn’t give her more to work with especially as her story frames the entire movie.
Despite the inaccuracy and minor flaws it’s a better second to the 1990 classic film than Rise of the Krays and is very rewatchable, with some cool hardy vs hardy fight scenes and tense drama.
R – The Krays (1990), The Rise of the Krays (2015)
L – London Gangster/Crime Films, Gangster Movies, Biographies
A – How inaccurate can you be in a film before it’s TOO much?
5B – Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Vs – The Krays Vs Legend Vs Rise of the Krays