8 out of 10
Release Date: 11th September 2015
Director: Brian Helgeland (42 / A Knight’s Tale / Payback)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Paul Anderson, Sam Spruell, Mel Raido, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton, Charley Palmer-Rothwell, Tara Fitzgerald, Shane Attwooll, Adam Fogerty, Kevin McNally, Lorraine Stanley, Nicholas Farrell, Aneurin Barnard, Joshua Hill, Duffy with Paul Bettany, Christopher Eccleston and Chazz Palminteri
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Tom Hardy (MAD MAX 4) puts in his best two performances since Bronson in this new biopic of the Kray Twins. Such has been his luck to pick a string of none-roles recently that his choices don’t even go towards enhancing the quality of his acting here. He’s just a force to behold. His portrayal of both Ronnie and Reggie here will be the roles he’ll be remembered for and this film will be talked about for years, just like Bronson.
Telling the tale of the well-publicised 1960s twin crime duo, The Krays, from the point of view of Reggie’s wife Frances (EMILY BROWNING – SLEEPING BEAUTY) we get a more detailed and measured take. Livelier and warmer than Peter Medak‘s 1980s attempt to immortalise them onscreen, and way, way better than the amateur hour that is the two-part Rise/Fall of the Krays and I haven’t even seen part 2 yet. The film is the closest British cinema has come to making its own Goodfellas or getting anywhere close to the heady heights of the legendary Long Good Friday. It’s almost perfect and it’s bad points are hardly worth pointing out – except I will. The narration should have been ditched because it’s completely out of place and rubbish. It’s from another film completely and it tries very hard to derail the flick. Secondly, it would sem that Tom Hardy filmed Ronnie’s part first, went on holiday to Spain for a fortnight and came back to act as Reggie, such is his perma-tan glow, when all around him are pastie white Londoners. Hardy as Ronnie comes perilously close to caricature at some points (like he did in Bronson) and reminded me of a Harry Enfield impression. And this becomes ore apparent if you see the trailer, because taken out of context, his scenes do look over the top. But in the film (where there mean’t to be, obviously) his Ronnie is sublime reading of a distrubed character. I won’t harp on about how terrible Simon Cotton (as Ronnie) is in the rival Rise of the Krays but it’s here for everyone to see -> Pro vs wannabe on uppers.
Elsewhere in the cast, David Thewlis (STONEHEARST ASYLUM), Paul Bettany (AVENGERS 2) and Sam Spruell (TAKEN 3) are stand out from the gigantic cast of familiar faces. Only Christopher Eccleston (FORTITUDE) fails to make an impression as Nipper Read. They should have swapped Danny Midwinter (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN) from the other amateur version – as he was a better Nipper in that. Emily Browning excels as the fragile yet all too human Frances. She puts in fantastic work and there’s a palpable chemistry between her and Tom Hardy.
The film contains all the famous ‘bits’ like the murders of Cornell and McVittie, yet even though we know the stories, American director Brian Helgeland (42) and his cast deliver something fresh, not warmed over. Tom Hardy may well be up for an Oscar come awards season, and even though this is a crowd-pleasing and eye catching role, the doubling up never feels like an annoying gimmick.
8 out of 10 – A near perfect gangster movie. Tom Hardy is the best he’s ever been so fans will be over the moon. Fans of The Krays can be satisfied that here’s a film to be proud of and finally a Brit gangster pic to get excited abut after the boat loads of shit imitations made by posh school boys. Recommended.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Tom Hardy: Fonzo, Dunkirk, Peaky Blinders (TV), The Revenant, London Road, Child 44, Mad Max 4, The Drop, Locke, The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, This Means War, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Warrior (2011), Inception, Deserter, Sucker Punch (2008), Bronson, Rock N’ Rolla, Flood, Scenes Of a Sexual Nature, Marie Antoinette, Layer Cake, Star Trek- Nemesis, Black Hawk Down
- Emily Browning: American Gods (TV), God Help The Girl, Pompeii, Summer In February, The Host (2013), Sleeping Beauty (2011), Sucker Punch (2011), The Uninvited, Lemony Snicket’s- A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Darkness Falls, Ghost Ship, Blue Heelers (TV), The Man Who Sued God
- David Thewlis: Wonder Woman, Macbeth (2015), Regression, Queen & Country, The Theory of Everything, Stonehearst Asylum, Zero Theorem, Red 2, War Horse, The Lady (2012), Anonymous, Mr Nice, London Boulevard, Harry Potter 3, 6, 7 & 8, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas, The Omen (2006), Basic Instinct 2, The New World, Kingdom Of Heaven, Gangster No.1, Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, Besieged, The Big Lebowski, Divorcing Jack, Seven Days In Tibet, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Total Eclipse, James and The Giant Peach (voice), Restoration, Black Beauty (1994), Naked, The Trial (1993), Afraid Of The Dark, Life Is Sweet, Resurrected, Vroom
- Paul Anderson: Peaky Blinders (TV), The Revenant, In The Heart of The Sea, Still Life, Electricity, ‘71, Passion (2012), The Sweeney, Piggy, Sherlock Holmes 2, A Lonely Place To Die, The Firm (2009)
- Sam Spruell: Valerian, Sand Castle, Sixteen, Good People, Child 44, Taken 3, The Voices, Starred Up, The Counsellor, Snow White and the Huntsman, Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll, Defiance, The Hurt Locker, London To Brighton
- Mel Raido: The Disappointments Room, Broken (2016), Gemma Bovery, In Our Name, Clubbed, Grow Your Own, Long Time Dead
- Colin Morgan: Humans (TV), The Huntsman – Winter’s War, Testament of Youth, Merlin (TV), Island, Parked
- Taron Egerton: Billionaire Boys’ Club, Kingsman 2, Eddie The Eagle, Kingsman – The Secret Service, Testament of Youth
- Charley Palmer-Rothwell: My Name is Lenny, iBoy, The Guvnors, It’s a Lot
- Tara Fitzgerald: Child 44, Game of Thrones (TV), Exodus, Waking The Dead (TV), Five Children and It, I Capture The Castle, Rancid Aluminium, Brassed Off, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (TV), A Man of No Importance, Siren, The Camomile Lawn (TV), Hear My Song
- Shane Attwooll: Titanic (TV)
- Adam Fogerty: Gloves Off, Bait (2015), Plastic, Love’s Kitchen, Assault of Darkness, Snatch
- Kevin McNally: Pirates of the Caribbean 5, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Mill (TV), Downton Abbey (TV), The Raven, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Valkyrie, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Scoop, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), De-Lovely, Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny English, High Heels and Low Lifes, When The Sky Falls, Dad (TV), Entrapment, The Legend of 1900, Sliding Doors, Spice World, Cry Freedom, Dr Who (TV), The Long Good Friday, Poldark (1977) (TV)
- Lorraine Stanley: The Receptionist, No Reasons, 100 Streets, Eastenders (TV), Suffragette, The Guvnors, The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, The Hooligan Wars, He Who Dares, Essex Boys Retribution, GBH, Made In Dagenham, Cass, London To Brighton
- Nicholas Farrell: Mindhorn, Remainder, Summer In February, The Iron Lady, Driving Lessons, Charlotte Gray, Beautiful People, Hamlet (1996), Twelfth Night (1996), Othello (1995), In The Bleak Midwinter, Greystoke – The Legend Of Tarzan, Chariots Of Fire
- Aneurin Barnard: Dunkirk, War & Peace (TV), Cilla (TV), The Adventurer – Curse of the Midas Box, Trap For Cinderella, Citadel, The Facility, Elfie Hopkins, Powder (2011), We’ll Take Manhattan, Hunky Dory, Ironclad
- Duffy: Patagonia
- Paul Bettany: Journey’s End, Avengers 3, Captain America 3, Shelter (dir), Avengers 2, Mortdecai, Transcendence, Blood (2013), Iron Man 3 (voice), Avengers Assemble (voice), Priest (2011), Margin Call, The Tourist, Iron Man 2 (voice), Legion, Creation, The Young Victoria, Inkheart, The Secret Life Of Bees, Iron Man (voice), The Da Vinci Code, Firewall, Master and Commander- Far Side Of The World, Dogville, The Heart Of Me, A Beautiful Mind, A Knight’s Tale, Dead Babies, Gangster No.1, The Land Girls
- Christopher Eccleston: Fortitude (TV), Doctor Who – Day of the Doctor, Thor 2, Song For Marion, GI Joe, Dr Who (TV), 28 Days Later, The Others, Gone In 60 Seconds, Existenz, Elizabeth I, Jude, Our Friends In The North (TV), Shallow Grave, Cracker (TV), Anchoress, Let Him Have It
- Chazz Palminteri: Running Scared, A Guide to Recognising Your Saints, Down To Earth, Analyze This, A Night At The Roxbury, Hurly Burly, Mulholland Falls, Diabolique (1996), Jade, The Perez Family, The Usual Suspects, Bullets Over Broadway, A Bronx Tale, Innocent Blood, Oscar