Tom's take on the crazy Krays offers a double distraction at Royston's Picture Palace
PUBLISHED: 06:50 27 October 2015
It's been three decades since Ridley Scott gave us Legend, a fey fantasy drama that could have been seen as a bit of therapy after all the dark despair of Alien and Blade Runner in the previous couple of years.
It starred Tom Cruise, already enjoying decent success but about to go stratospheric thanks to Top Gun, as a young forest boy and in among all the elves and fairies could be found Tom Curry in improbable make-up.
It was a bit fluffy, it was far-fetched, but it won a following of sorts and Sir Ridley, as we now know him, thought enough about it to go back and produce a longer director’s cut – but then he has got form for that sort of thing.
But there’s no denying that the title Legend was an accurate summing up of the subject matter, which is more than can be said for a hero worshipping biopic of a couple of brutal, and spectacularly unprofessional, East End gangsters.
But Legend is what Brian Helgeland’s latest project is called, and we’ll just have to get used to it.
Helgeland has had a stellar career as a writer with big hits like Mystic River and Man On Fire in his back catalogue – let’s not mention The Postman, nobody else does.
As a director he has produced some interesting stuff, too – A Knight’s Tale memorably mixed Queen hits and Chaucer and his most recent film was 42. a respectful biopic of baseball legend Jackie Robinson which flopped over on this side of the Atlantic because of the subject matter but was well worth watching.
In Legend Tom Hardy famously plays both Kray brothers, the identical twins who ruled London’s underworld in the 1960s. Didn’t they? Well, not really...
There’s no denying that they had a high profile, but by all accounts the star-struck twins were a bit of a laughing stock among the real criminals who sensibly kept their heads down, didn’t leave evidence of their crimes all over the shop to help the police lock them away for life and resisted the temptation to murder rivals in front of serried ranks of witnesses.
Their reign was very short-lived, but they cultivated their stardom in the swinging Sixties to such an extent that they remained notorious until the end of their lives.
Hardy is impressive in his portrayal of both men, even though you can’t help being distracted by the technical trickery that made it possible.
But you have to wonder whether a film with such a talented cast, and with such a note-perfect take on its period, should be paying this much starstruck homage to a pair of clearly bonkers baddies.
There are screenings at Royston Picture Palace on Friday and Saturday, to book tickets visit www.roystonpicturepalace.org.uk.