Wednesday, February 3, 2016



Film Review by FIORE

Brian Helgeland is a bit of a roller coaster.  Considered one of the more prolific screenwriters in Tinseltown, he loses his panache when he combines his writing with directing.  To date, only two of the seven oeuvres he has written and directed are noteworthy:  PAYBACK, the revenge thriller starring Mel Gibson; and LA CONFIDENTIAL, about corruption in Hollywood with Russell Crowe and Guy Pierce.  His latest writing and directing combination, LEGEND, does not stand next to those two endeavors.  It must be something with the additional duties, because LEGEND drags on more than old ladies leaving church on Sundays.  The middle of the film is so slow, one can literally walk away from the screen, fix a regal repast complete with complimentary wine, and return having missed nothing at all.

LEGEND is the story of the Kray brothers, who ran the underworld in London during the 1960’s.  The Krays were twins from East London and both brothers are played amazingly by Tom Hardy.  Hardy, as I stated in an earlier review of THE REVENANT is challenging Doug Jones as Hollywood’s premiere chameleon actor.  He is nearly unrecognizable in his last four films, catering to the whims of make-up artists and dialogue coaches.  If LEGEND is worth seeing, it is solely to see Hardy’s performance.





Helgeland’s meandering script is not aided by Editor Peter McNulty, who, after a rather slow start, teases viewers with a sprinkling of action, only to sink into a morass of rambling, clichéd soap opera drama.  Dick Pope is a stalwart in the British Society of Cinematographers, but he is doing mere yeoman duty here; it’s good, but not outstanding, and he is usually outstanding.  There are several key scenes in which the matting is noticeable between the two brothers.

Besides Hardy, LEGEND features Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Chazz Palminteri.  All attempt to help raise LEGEND to a comfortable level, but truly, the script is just not there.  The presentation of the material is suspect as well.  For two brothers ruling a criminal empire for so long, one wonders why they surrounded themselves with misfits.  The supporting cast seems to be purloined from THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT

LEGEND is receiving considerable notice from various film societies.  This is probably due to Hardy’s performance, and because one of the brothers, Ronald, was openly gay.  This theme in a film is seen by Hollywood sycophants as brave, bold and daring.  Just look what they did to Bruce Jenner.  Unfortunately, for the 93% of the population who is not homosexual, these themes are becoming mundane and largely annoying.

The only reason to sit through LEGEND is to watch Tom Hardy.  If you’re not into great acting pieces, skip this one.  It tries to be a gangster film, but in the end, fails miserably.


1 comment:

Ken Burke; Pat Craig said...

Hi Fiore, Welcome to Blogspot; I hope it works more easily for you than it has for me over these past 4 years with the discrepancy between what I see on the compose page and how that looks on the preview page something that drives me mad at times when trying to get a better appearance to my layout. Anyway, your reviews are concise and to the point as always so I continue to wish you active readership. Ken