Legend tells the true story of Ronald Kray (Tom Hardy) and his twin brother, Reggie Kray (also Tom Hardy). Set in London in the 1960s, Ron is a club owner, spending his time looking after his bar while also maintaining an intimate relationship with a woman named Frances (Emily Browning), who narrates the story from her point of view. Reggie is fresh out of the mental hospital, living in an RV with his boyfriend, Teddy (Taron Egerton). The two start to rise to power as gangsters, becoming feared all throughout Europe. As they rise to power, trouble comes their way, both with the law and with other gangs. Their methods are unorthodox, and their acts of extreme violence could just bring them down.
Tom Hardy plays both Ron and Reggie Kray, and he may just give the greatest performance, or performances, of his career. Before I continue, I must point out that Legend is far from Hardy's best movie. He's certainly been in better films, such as Mad Max Fury Road earlier this year, but no film of his has better proven his talents as an actor than this one. He's unstoppable, providing us with two very different performances that both work flawlessly, and the special effects work is just as great. There is but one moment when the effects appear obvious, and this shot lasts for just a few seconds. For the rest of the film, differentiating between the Tom Hardy's is quite the challenge, especially in a scene where Tom Hardy has a fight..... with himself.
Legend is brought to us from writer-director Brian Helgeland, the man responsible for writing L.A. Confidential and Mystic River, and more recently he directed the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42. His writing, once again, is absolutely phenomenal. His career as a writer is certainly flawed, a couple of his films ending up being quite awful, but not all of them were the script's fault. That being said, with Legend, his script is excellent, balancing out drama with comedy while maintaining an honesty about the entire situation. It runs a little too long and has a few clichés, but it's entertaining nonetheless.
To sum up, Legend tells the Kray's story how it should be told. It's honest, it's brutal and it has a dark sense of humour. Tom Hardy shines in his duel role, providing us with what is arguably his best performance(s) to date, and director Brain Helgeland has never been better.