Legend (2015)

To learn more about the east end and the ways in which I could develop ‘Frank’ from my film ‘A bit about Frank’ in particular, I watched Legend (2015) which was directed by Brian Helgeland and Starred Tom Hardy. To study the role of ‘Reggie Kray’ in the film.

General overview 

UnknownThe film Legend is an adaptation of John Pearsons book Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins which was originally published in 1972The film tells the story of identical twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray who were two of the most notorious gangsters in the East of London during the 50’s and 60’s. The pair were arrested in 1968 after years of robberies, arson, assaults and murders which helped to build their popular reputation.  They also owned night clubs in the west end which enabled them to mix with politicians and other famous celebrities like Frank Sinatra, this helped them to get them out of trouble on numerous occasions. The narrative is narrated from the perspective of France’s, Reggie’s girlfriend who kill’s herself towards the end of the film because of depression.

First thoughts 

legend-tom-hardy.jpgI enjoyed watching this film because it has a strong British heritance which I love. I have never actually read the book surprisingly enough, so watching the film was a new experience for me. The film was both engaging and full of twists and turns. Tom Hardy was  breath taking in his double portrayal of both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend. The film has a true east end backdrop similarly to my narrative which really sets the tone of the film, there is also a good balance between violence and romance within the text which helps to keep it fresh and unpredictable for the audience. The music used at the beginning of particular scenes really helps to time stamp the movie. Similarly to how the mise en scene and costume also helps to do this. The use of the pub ‘The blind beggar’ shows the director was aware of the certain codes and conventions which surround this type of film. The pub is a main fixture similar to how it is used in T.V soap ‘Eastenders’ and my film ‘A bit about Frank’. The colours of the film are very vivid and they pop which could act as a juxtaposition to the reality of the film which is relatively bleak narrative.‘it is the meaningful placement of one element in close proximity to another element, and it is an essential aspect of successful’ (Movie outline). This technique helps to show the contrast between two things. Although the film is predominantly a biography/ crime drama it also houses a lot of comedy, especially in the way of Ronnie. He is erratic, loud, fearless and very sarcastic. In the pub scene he storms out in frustration when a few of the south London (tourcher gang)  members attempt to beat up him and his brother with tools. He asked the leader ‘what you gonna do with that? are you going to bake me a cake? …I came here for a fu**ing shoot out, a proper shoot out’. His bold and crazy nature makes him a very exciting and problematic character. It also seems like most of the problems the brothers face stem from him. The POV shots in the fight scene between the pair also work really well, it made me as audience member feel closer to the action. ‘Handheld camera angles establish a reckless feeling, and tripod shots feel smooth. The current fad of handheld puts the audience into the story, with a “you are there” feel’ (‘Dynamic’ 2008). The role of France’s Reggie’s girlfriend is very interesting. She drives the story with her narration and also adds balance to the male populated plot with her sporadic appearances.  You can really see the love that they have for one another even though in the text it seems like they fall in love too quickly, although she does display her emotions well. At times it felt like Brian Helgeland the director of the film, gave Tom Hardy and Emily Browning the freedom to improvise some scenes because their words were overlapping unconventionally during certain scenes. ‘Allow your actor to truly improvise their lines and speak in a way that makes them feel comfortable and natural’ (‘Boost ) as this helps to bring a more authentic performance out of your actors. I will give the film a 7.5/10.

Reggie Kray VS Frank

(Reggie on the left, Frank on the right)

There are many similarities between Reggie and Frank as well as there are differences. They are both aggressive, powerful and men who demand respect. Even though Frank is not as dangerous our notorious as Reggie he has had his fair share of run ins and altercations in his days as a football hooligan during the 80’s with West ham. Reggie was clearly ready to give it up the dangerous and criminal lifestyle for his lover when he promised to move to ibiza with her, the night before she committed suicide. Frank also gave up following West ham up and down the country for his ex wife Angie. Both of these men were willing to give up everything they knew for their women, unfortunately for both men this change came too late as France’s dies and Angie runs off to live out her dreams. The way in which Reggie was in and out of prison can also be compared to Frank’s early life as a teenager. Both men seek the role of being fatherly and dominating and this is clear to see when Frank says to Daniel in the kitchen scene ‘Get married, leave the city follow your dreams… Just don’t end up like me’. Reggie also looks to teach his twin brother about what he should be doing at various parts of the film. For example when he goes inside and Ronnie messes up the casino business. They both look to lead and exert their dominance when ever they can.

Ronnie has this strange fixation on being a ‘gangster’ he loves it, he lives for it. This is similar to how Frank is in love with West ham. Both men also have illnesses, Franks is an an organ failure and Ronnie’s is his mental health issue. At times they both act out in rage as methods to suppress their feelings. Ronnie beats up Leslie in the pub as he feels like he know’s too much information. While Frank also takes out his frustrations on Daniel by shouting at him in the kitchen scene.

To this film has a lot of good aspects which I will try to implement into my film, like the improvised scenes which helped actors give a more authentic performance, the aspects of comedy which help bring balance to the narrative,  also the use of music to carry the story and give a contextual time stamp on the film. This film has huge relevance to my film ‘A bit about Frank’ as they are both set in East London, they also both feature a death and both films are also drama related. There is a lot to learn from Reggie as a character everything down to his pacing and articulation of his words. I will use all of this new found information in the improvement of my narrative and also my character development especially with Frank.


StudiocanalUK (2015) LEGEND – NEW OFFICIAL TRAILER. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey7S4hko_Mc (Accessed: 10 March 2016).

Legend. U.K: Brian Helgeland, 2015. film.

Pearson, J. (1972) The profession of violence: The rise and fall of the Kray twins. United Kingdom: HarperCollins Distribution Services.

Limited, N. (2010) Using juxtaposition in your screenplay to make A better story & script. Available at: http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/using-juxtaposition-in-your-screenplay-to-make-a-better-story-and-script.html (Accessed: 2 March 2016).

John, P. (2008) Dynamic chase scenes. Available at: http://www.videomaker.com/article/f5/13484-dynamic-chase-scenes (Accessed: 2 March 2016).

JunLoayza (2015) Boost engagement with your audience through improvisation. Available at: http://voicebunny.com/blog/boost-engagement-audience-improvisation/ (Accessed: 2 March 2016).


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