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Tom Hardy delivers a stellar performance in 'Legend', portraying notorious gangsters, identical twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray. London in the 1960's proves to be as violent as it is seductive through the eyes of the Kray twins. 

It's not hard to believe Hardy as both brothers, his distinction between the two is impressive. Reggie straddles a fine line between the underworld and trying to live 'straight' with his girlfriend Frances (Emily Browning). This of course proves much near impossible, not helped in part by his psychotic brother Ron and his boyfriend Teddy Smith. 

The Kray twins own one of the most popular nightclubs in London, where the rich and famous mingle with criminals and the twins are titled 'Gangster Princes' within their own right. It becomes clear that Ron has other plans for his brother than going 'straight'. 

Ron as terrifying as he is, is much more than just a paranoid psychopath, often breaking the tension with some witty one liners.  Hardy convincingly pulls off the complex relationship between the twins, the love and frustration they share for one another. A highlight of the film is the fight scene between the brothers, a feat somehow made possible with only one actor. The violence in this film is short but frequent, with enough impact to keep the audience engaged and not shy away from the brutality on screen.

Browning's portrayal of Frances is brilliant, and not resigned to role of just Reggie's girlfriend. She proves to be the heart and soul of the film, narrated mostly from her point of view. We engage and empathise with her as she grows from starstruck girlfriend to a woman who can hold her own. 

Christopher Eccleston is also worth noting in his role of Police Detective Nipper Read, the Kray's adversary and ultimately the man who eventually brought their reign to an end. 

Legend was a thrilling and surprisingly humorous snapshot of gangland London. A cinematic gem of 2015!

My rating: 9/10

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