Biography Blu-ray Review

'Legend' Blu-ray Review: Tom Hardy does double duty in Kray twins biopic

March 3, 2016Ben MK

The past 12 months have been a busy one for Tom Hardy. Yet, somewhere in between antagonizing Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant and starring in George Miller's balls-to-the-wall revival of the Mad Max franchise, Hardy somehow found the time to play gangster, portraying both halves of the infamous Kray twins in Legend.

Based on author John Pearson's 1972 book "The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins," the film tells the true story of Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two brothers who rose to the top of East London's criminal underworld in the 1960s. Unlike most gangster movies, however, the focus of Legend isn't the Krays' criminal exploits or their moral misdeeds, but rather the siblings' close-yet-strained relationship with one another, as well as Reggie's doomed relationship with his girlfriend (and eventual wife) Frances Shea (Emily Browning), a young woman 10 years his junior.

Of course, that's not to say that writer/director Brian Helgeland abstains from depicting violence altogether. However, a fair warning to anyone expecting anything on the level of Goodfellas or The Untouchables, as moments like those are few and far between. Nonetheless, Hardy's double-edged performance goes a long way in keeping audiences entertained. And the same goes for the movie's solid supporting cast, which includes Taron Egerton and David Thewlis as two of the Krays' associates, Paul Bettany as a rival gang-leader, and Christopher Eccleston as a policeman hot on the brothers' trail.

Ultimately, however, where Legend falls short is in showing audiences exactly what made the Kray twins such legends to begin with. As it stands, the film is worth watching for the performances alone. But for more insight into the brothers' criminal escapades, you're better off sticking with the book on which the movie is based.

Crisp and cleanly resolved, Legend's Blu-ray presentation brings the world of 1960s East End London to life in thrilling fashion, revealing a plethora of detail amongst the film's excellent period production and costume design, backed by buoyant colors, all-absorbing black levels and spot-on contrast. Turning to the film's sound design, Legend is more about the ambience from night clubs, casinos and high-class parties than fisticuffs and shootouts; and the disc's primary 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix communicates the filmmakers' intentions beautifully, delivering crystal-clear dialogue, topped off with an assortment of '60s-era pop songs and a jazzy score.

Elevation Pictures' one-disc release includes the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Creating the Legend (11:03) - A piece about Tom Hardy's portrayal of the Kray twins, the role played by Emily Browning's character and the filmmakers' recreation of 1960s London.
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Brian Helgeland - Helgeland talks about the origin of the film's title, composer Carter Burwell's score, the music from the era, the production and costume design, the actors' performances, the cinematography, the filming locations and more.

Legend is available from Elevation Pictures as of March 1st, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French and Spanish DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 12 Mins.

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