Reviewed by – Hannah Lawrence
What’s better than one Tom Hardy? Two. Even if the second Tom Hardy is slightly schizophrenic with bipolar tendencies. Still hot.
Hardy plays notorious gangster twins Reggie and Ronald Kray based on the true story of their rise to power in London’s East and West Ends. The story is told from the perspective of Reggie’s wife, Frances Shea (played by Emily Browning), being closest person to Reggie and his insider secrets. She tells a story of two bipolar opposites, love and crime, and how they co-exist in London’s underworld in the 60s.
Reggie is the handsome, charismatic, intimidating one, and Ron is the psychopathic, erratic nut-job. Together they are frightening, corrupt and destructive. The club-slash-casino owners drink champagne with singers, dance with actresses, chat with politicians, and converse with other elitists. Their figures became increasingly hard to ignore.
Assault becomes an everyday boxing match and extortion became as common as taxes. Their egregious behaviour made them infamous and untouchable. The court system couldn’t pin them, their peers were scared of them, and their mates crept on eggshells. But just like anything built on unsettled foundations, their livelihoods crashed.
What goes up must come down. And when the twins came down, they fell hard. After Reggie goes to jail, his brother essentially loses everything they worked for. The result ended in a twin punch up, which was brilliantly filmed and directed in a theatrical quick-change routine with a double-up for each scene. With tensions between the twins growing, they’re empire starts to dwindle –socially, financially, legally.
Despite the seriousness of the film, it was also comically brilliant. Hardy wasn’t afraid to let loose with either character – especially Ron – which resulted in something quirky and nonconformist to gangster films alike. Directed by Brian Helgeland, the classic gangster film is turned into an entertainingly funny and (semi) factual movie. I would recommend this movie to those who don’t mind violence and love Tom Hardy.