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Legend

Year: 2015
Production Co: Cross Creek Pictures
Studio: Universal
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland/John Pearson
Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Christopher Ecclestone, Tara Fitzgerald

The Peter Pan ride at Disneyland contains a section where you've left the Darling childrens' bedroom and started to fly over the streets of London with Peter on the way to Neverland.

It's a dark chamber about the size of a very large family room with the carriage following the track in the ceiling and the miniature London set out below you. Tiny lights blink in windows, a five foot Big Ben glows majestically beside the River Thames, the moon is painted on the far wall and stars twinkle everywhere on wires suspended from the ceiling.

You can see all the details of how the room and surrounds have been built if you really look, but it's good enough to trick your eyes into thinking you're really hundreds of feet up above the real city of London – an enchanting effect. The twin perspectives also give the whole scene a soft, storybook quality that's perfect for the story of Peter Pan and makes the ride all the more charming.

It's a long bow to draw, but Legend is a bit like those first few rooms of the Peter Pan ride. Even though it deals with the darkened, working class East End of the same city it's similarly glossy and gilded – there are even some shots where you're floating slowly across the rooftops of the Docklands and surrounds, like you're on the Kray Brothers Disneyland ride.

The most attention grabbing element of Legend is initially the presence of Tom Hardy as both Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Ronnie is a bit of a dandy – straight-edged, movie star handsome and personable (even when he's slamming you in the face for a transgression against his crime empire). Gay but even more brutal, Reggie is socially awkward, violently psychotic, slightly schlubbier and given to strange declarations of whatever comes to mind.

But together they rise to the top of the heap of organised crime in London, and it's told through the eyes and voiceover of Frances (Emily Browning), the local girl Ronnie falls in love with. She's whisked away to a life of relative opulence before it's obvious Ronnie's more wedded to his rise to power than her, and she becomes the film's tragic figure more so than either twin.

Wherever Hardy appears on screen at the same time as both brothers (even when rolling around on the floor beating hell out of each other) the technicalities of making it look like different actors are not only seamless, the cleverness isn't telegraphed, making it quite easy to forget you're watching only Hardy.

The story isn't as successful as the effects and there are far better crime and gangster dramas around. We've seen the story of a crime lord's rise to power done plenty of times and far better – look no further than Scarface.

Whether it was intentional or subconscious (having come from an American writer/director), there's also a distinctly Americanised feel to the tone. The East End flyover is just one example of a Britain Americans imagine it to be, as if a few casual location scouts were chucked in as an afterthought. You almost expect a bobby to come around a corner and say 'Cor blimey guv'nor, what's all this then?'

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