Film Review by Kam Williams
Tom Hardy Plays Notorious Twins in Bloody, Brit Mob Saga
Hollywood has enjoyed a long love affair with vicious mobsters, each seemingly more ruthless than the last. From Scarface (1932) to Dillinger (1945) to Baby Face Nelson (1957) to Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to The Godfather (1972) to Capone (1975) to The Untouchables (1987) to Goodfellas (1990) to Bugsy (1993) to The Departed (2006) to Black Mass (2015), fans of the genre apparently can never get enough of malevolent monsters to satiate their bloodlust.
Maybe the industry might have run out of American gangsters to place on pedestals posthumously, since the latest offering is a biopic about a couple of late, British bad boys . Ronnie and Reggie Kray gained notoriety in East London in the Sixties which is when they operated a trendy nightclub while dabbling in extortion, assault, arson, robbery and murder.
Despite being identical twins, the siblings were nevertheless different enough to enable the talented Tom Hardy to play them both on the big screen. Ronnie was an openly-gay sociopath so berserk he was temporarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. By contrast, his relatively-stable, straight sibling had a wife, Frances (Emily Browning), and paid his debt to society not in a straitjacket but by sitting behind bars.
Hardy, with the help of trick photography, delivers a decent performance here, often even opposite himself. Unfortunately, the film proves to be far more concerned with serving up brutality than with bothering to convey a coherent plotline.
Consequently, the movie does paint a picture of these creeps as unapologetic sadists, but has little to offer in terms of introspection, motivation or what made its protagonists tick. Plus, it suffers from a lack of subtitles for some of the characters’ inscrutable Cockney accents.
In sum, a gruesome, gorefest for folks who take a perverse delight in gratuitous torture.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, drug use, graphic violence and pervasive profanity
Running time: 131 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures