Legend, Brian Helegland’s ode to the East End and the Kray twins, premieres tonight on Channel 4.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good film but it wastes a lot of its potential in maudlin nostalgia and sentimental nudges to a simpler time when villains only harmed villains and the lives of the citizenry around them were untouched. The result is a kind of Robin Hood hybrid in which the Krays are presented as lovable rogues who just wanted to be left alone to do an honest day’s thieving/racketeering/extorting, etc.
Tom Hardy plays both leads, as Ronnie and Reggie Kray, and has a good go at upstaging himself as he flits from the in-your-face psychopathy and violence of unhinged Ron to the charismatic and outwardly genial Reg – who maintains a thin veneer of civility to mask his equally violent potential.
Christopher Ecclestone gets the job of breathing life into the twins’ nemesis detective superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read, while Emily Browning plays Reg’s wife Frances Shea.
Legend – Saturday at 9.00pm on Channel 4.