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Legend review: even two Tom Hardys can't save a half-baked script

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 5 December 2015, 3:21 IST

The only thing better than one Tom Hardy is two Tom Hardys.

That's what Legend promised to deliver. And on that count, it did. Tom Hardy is fab playing both of the Kray twins - Reggie and Ronnie - the mobsters who rose to power in 1960s London.

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Unfortunately, Brian Helgeland's (LA Confidential, A Knight's Tale) film doesn't have a script to match his performance.

What truly destroys the film, though? The fact that we see it from the perspective of Frances Shea (Emily Browning), Reggie's girlfriend. The film tries in vain to make this story centre around Frances and that narrative completely strips away the cheap thrills of watching a gangster film.

She's supposed to be like a moral compass - the cliched dialogues will make you groan inwardly - but it's far from convincing.

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Sadly, too, Legend spends an inexplicable amount of time on Reggie and Frances' relationship, and that's when it drags most.

To make it worse, for a gangster film there's barely any gun fights (a few knuckle fights including one Tom Hardy versus Tom Hardy)!

But Tom Hardy...

Reggie is cool, unflappable and tough. Ronnie is heavy-set, the paranoid-schizophrenic gay brother prone to psychotic, irrational tantrums.

Hardy piles on the tics and flourishes, making both brothers seem unique.

Ronnie's all about the typical, violent gangster ways whilst Reggie is focused on owning half of London's nightlife. Their blurred objectives repeatedly cause the pair to get into unnecessary situations and frustrate Frances who just wants her husband "on the straight".

What lingers after Legend is over are a handful of scenes; most involving Ronnie's insanity and his openness about his homosexuality, which he cheerfully shares with everyone.

Browning doesn't deliver a bad performance as a depressed, pill-popping woman, but her character feels insipid and 'empty'.

Should you bother?

Sure, the Krays are dynamic in and of themselves, but a lack of a narrative drive as well as dangling subplots that never really take off, all amount to a much longer affair than you'd expect.

And with fewer punches than you'd expect.

Ultimately, it all comes back to Hardy's performance.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

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First published: 5 December 2015, 0:21 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.