LEGEND (18) ..... TOM Hardy [...].

LEGEND (18) ..... TOM Hardy portrays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Brian Helgeland's brutal portrait of the notorious gangsters.

One helping of the London-born leading man, with his imposing physical presence and willingness to delve into the darkest recesses of the human psyche, is usually an emotionally bruising treat. A double dose of Hardy should be an overflowing feast for the senses.

Surprisingly, the neat gimmick of casting the same actor in dual roles proves an almighty distraction.

Using the visual shorthand of a pair of spectacles to distinguish between the two Krays, Hardy plays Ronnie as a blackly humorous psychopath, one giggle shy of Jack Nicholson's Joker and Reggie as a dutiful son, who puts family ties ahead of personal desires.

Tom |Ronnie and Ultimately, the film comes apart at the seams as it lurches between tenderness and lurid violence to lay bare the unshakeable bond between the brothers.

Reggie and identical twin Ronnie own a lucrative club in London, where the rich and famous rub shoulders with bad boys and criminals.

With guidance from business manager Leslie Payne (David Thewlis), the club goes from strength to strength and the brothers entertain a transatlantic union with organised crime boss Meyer Lansky.

Hardy as Reggie On the mean streets of the capital, the Krays continue a brutal turf war with Charlie Richardson (Paul Bettany) and remain one step ahead of Detective Superintendent Leonard 'Nipper' Read (Christopher Eccleston).

Reggie embarks on a giddy romance with 16-year-old Frances Shea (Emily Browning), sister of his driver Frankie (Colin Morgan), despite vociferous protests from her mother (Tara Fitzgerald). The relationship coincides with Ronnie's turbulent affair with Edward Smith (Taron Egerton).

Based on the book The Profession of Violence by John Pearson, Legend captures the fashions and sounds of Fifties and Sixties London with aplomb, but the abrupt shifts in pace and tone are deeply discomfiting.

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Tom Hardy as |Ronnie and Reggie

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