DRAMA; 2hr 12min
STARRING: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Killer role: Hardy as Ron (left) and Reggie
What a pair the identical Kray twins are in writer-director Brian Helgeland’s gobsmacking adaptation of John Pearson’s book! Especially when both are played to the hilt by Tom Hardy. Pulling off a head-spinning coup, Hardy loops the crime ring loop as 1960s East London “gangster princes” Reggie and Ron, unerringly segueing between Reggie’s affable reasoning, Ron’s stark-raving craziness and the horrific, bloodthirsty explosions to which both brothers are alarmingly prone. (They did have their reasons: “Ruling London involved intelligence and intimidation,” according to Reggie’s messed-up wife, and Legend narrator, Frances, delicately played by Browning).
When Helgeland’s dirty, exhaustive trip to the dark side begins, the lads are living it up with their rafters-packed nightclub, their protection rackets and their chummy ties to the Las Vegas mob. The other side of that tarnished coin, though, is either prison, the nuthouse (from which psycho killer Ron should never have been released) or the still more discouraging alternative of premature death. Not even those deterrents can derail the Kray gravy train: only Reggie and Ron are finally capable of that. In scrupulously detailing their boom and bust, Hardy, as piercing as a missile, zeroes to the power-lusting marrow of what made the monster run.