Legend (2015 film)
Legend is a 2015 biographical crime thriller film written and directed by American director Brian Helgeland. It is adapted from John Pearson's book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, which deals with their rise and fall, the relationship that bound them together, and follows their gruesome career to imprisonment for life in 1969.
British theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Helgeland|
|Screenplay by||Brian Helgeland|
|Based on|| The Profession of Violence|
by John Pearson
|Narrated by||Emily Browning|
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Peter McNulty|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$43 million|
This is Helgeland's fifth feature film. Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Christopher Eccleston star with Colin Morgan, Chazz Palminteri, Paul Bettany, Tara Fitzgerald and Taron Egerton as well as singer Duffy featured in supporting roles.
In the 1960s, Reggie Kray is a former boxer who has become an important part of the criminal underground in London. At the start of the film, his twin brother Ron is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for paranoid schizophrenia. Reggie uses threats to obtain the premature release of his brother, who is rapidly discharged from hospital. The two brothers unite their efforts to control a large part of London's criminal underworld. One of their first efforts is to muscle-in on the control of a local nightclub, using extortion and brutal violence.
Reggie enters into a relationship with Frances, the sister of his driver, and they ultimately marry; however, he is imprisoned for a previous criminal conviction, which he cannot evade. While Reggie is in prison, Ron's mental instability and violent temperament lead to severe financial setbacks at the nightclub. The club is almost forced to close after Ron scares away most of the customers. On the first night after Reggie's release from prison, the brothers have an all-out fist fight, but they manage to partially patch things up.
The brothers are approached by Angelo Bruno of the Philadelphia crime family who, on behalf of Meyer Lansky and the American Mafia, wants to engage them in a crime syndicate deal. Bruno agrees to a fifty-fifty deal with Reggie to split London's underground gambling profits in exchange for local protection by the brothers. Initially, this system is highly lucrative for the Kray brothers. Ron's barely concealed volatility results in him publicly murdering George Cornell, an associate of the Torture Gang, rivals of the Krays. As a result, Scotland Yard opens a full investigation of the Kray brothers.
Reggie beats and rapes Frances and she leaves him. Reggie then approaches her to start afresh, offering her a holiday to Ibiza. Instead she is found dead after committing suicide with an overdose of prescription drugs. The brothers' criminal activities continue and Ron pays petty criminal Jack McVitie to kill Leslie Payne, Reggie's partner, who controls the legal side of the Krays' operations. He only wounds Payne, who then turns the brothers over to Detective Superintendent Leonard "Nipper" Read, the head of the investigation. Reggie finds out and brutally stabs McVitie with a knife during a party hosted by Ron. The testimony given by Payne means that Ron is arrested and charged with Cornell's murder. The final scene shows a police squad breaking down the door to Reggie's flat in order to apprehend him for McVitie's murder.
The closing captions indicate both brothers receiving criminal convictions for murder. They died five years apart, Ron from a heart attack in 1995, and Reggie from cancer in 2000.
- Emily Browning as Frances Shea
- Colin Morgan as Frankie Shea
- Reggie's driver at the Kray Firm, and older brother of Frances. Described as a "young and very good-looking man."
- David Thewlis as Leslie Payne
- The Krays' business manager. He considered himself a cultured man and he was sickened by the twins' violence.
- Taron Egerton as Edward "Mad Teddy" Smith
- The head of the Philadelphia crime family and friend and business associate to Ronnie and Reggie.
- Charlie and his brother Eddie were leaders of a notorious south London gang (also known as the Torture Gang), which had a feud and war with the Krays' gang 'The Firm' during the 1960s.
- Paul Anderson as Albert Donoghue
On 12 October 2013, it was announced that Brian Helgeland had written a script and would be directing a film focusing on the life of Reggie Kray who, with identical brother Ronald, formed the notorious Kray twins. Helgeland said the film would concentrate on Reggie's attempts to control the psychopathic tendencies of his younger twin.
Helgeland spoke of hanging out in London with well-known Krays associate Freddie Foreman, saying, "I had drinks with him in his local haunt. When we finished he got up to go and they feted him at the bar. I said to him, 'what about the bill?' and he replied, 'we don't pay.'"
On 18 April 2014, it was announced that Helgeland would write and direct the film, with the shooting being based in the United Kingdom and with Hardy starring as the male leads. Five days later it was stated that Browning was in negotiations for a role as the film's female lead.
Crews and cast were spotted filming scenes at Falmouth Road, London, St Anne's Limehouse in Limehouse and in the Windmill Walk area around London Waterloo. Filming also took place in Caradoc Street in Greenwich, London in June 2014.
Principal photography started on 12 June 2014. The film was released in September 2015.
Financing for Legend was provided by StudioCanal, which also distributed the film throughout the territories of the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Germany in addition to handling international sales, which started at the beginning of the Cannes Film Festival. On 30 April 2014, Brian Oliver's Cross Creek Pictures acquired the North American distribution rights to Legend from StudioCanal, with a planned 2015 theatrical release through Universal Pictures in its distribution deal with the studio and Oliver also named as a producer on the film. Sales to other territories such as Asia, Africa and much of Europe are being completed. The film was originally set for a 2 October 2015, U.S. release, but it was moved to 20 November 2015.
On 13 June 2014, the first image of the film was published, featuring Hardy as the Kray twins. A promotional poster attracted publicity because it made a two-star review from The Guardian appear to be a four- or five-star review by placing the two stars between the heads of the Krays.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 61% based on 164 reviews and an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "As a gangster biopic, Legend is deeply flawed, but as a showcase for Tom Hardy – in a dual role, no less – it just about lives up to its title." On Metacritic the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Awards and nominations
|2015||British Independent Film Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film||Tom Hardy||Won|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||Best Actor||Tom Hardy||Nominated|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Picture||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture||Tom Hardy||Nominated|
|2016||Empire Awards||Best British Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Tom Hardy||Nominated|
|Houston Film Critics Society||Best Actor||Tom Hardy||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle||Actor of the Year||Tom Hardy||Nominated|
|British/Irish Actor of the Year||Tom Hardy||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best International Film||Nominated|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||Best Actor||Tom Hardy||Won|
- The Krays (1990 film)
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