“London in the 1960s, everyone had a story about the Krays. They were twins. Reggie was a gangster prince of East End. Ronnie Kray was a one-man mob, and he was certified insane.” With an opening like this, I knew The Legend was going to be an unforgettable film.
The movie told the story of the rise and fall of London’s most infamous gangsters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray. The dynamic duo built a business running casinos that brought criminals and aristocrats together. This mixture worked well, because the two groups had a great deal in common, especially when it came to spending money they didn’t really earn for themselves. For a time, all was well and the twins ruled London. However, problems soon emerged.
Reggie was in and out of jail; sometimes for his own crimes and other times for Ronnie’s crimes. He felt obligated to take care of his crazy brother, but that obligation soon turned into resentment. Frances Shea, Reggie’s wife, saw the problems life as a gangster caused and begged her husband to go straight. When Reggie couldn’t bring himself to leave it all behind, Frances’ bitterness and depression grew, ultimately leading her to suicide. Reggie’s world was falling apart, and it all finally crumbled to pieces when he was arrested for murder charges.
The film was a one-stop shop with suspense, romance, violence and even humor. One of my favorite scenes in the movie blended violence and humor perfectly. After being asked to meet with their rivals in a bar for a “peace agreement”, the Krays arrive and Ronnie, being no fool, is expecting a full blown shootout. He is highly disappointed when he sees one of the thugs holding a rolling pin and exclaims, “What is that? I come here for a proper shootout! What you gonna do with that rolling pin? You gonna bake me a cake? What I want is a shootout, a shootout is a shootout… like a western!” With that, Ronnie storms out.
From the smug looks on their faces, the rival gangsters think they’re going to have no problem beating Reggie up since he’s all alone now. Out of nowhere, Reggie declares that he wants to tell them a joke first. He begins the joke with “a psychotic schizophrenic walks into a bar” as Ronnie creeps back in, and the twins brutally beat up the group of gangsters. It’s an epic fight scene you have to see to really appreciate.
This was just one of the countless scenes I enjoyed. Overall, my favorite aspect of the film was how often I found myself laughing out loud. I wasn’t expecting the movie to be so funny, but I was delightfully surprised. Ronnie’s insane comments, expressions and actions kept me constantly chuckling. I think I laughed more than I have ever laughed in an actual comedy movie. Without a doubt, The Legend has it all: love, murder, laughs and more.