Brian Helgeland cemented his legacy as a writer the moment he won a screenwriting Oscar for his 1997 crime drama, L.A. Confidential, but that never deterred him from trying to become an accomplished director as well. In 2013 Helgeland broke through with the successful critical and financial sports biopic, 42, which paved the way for his latest cinematic effort, Legend.
Set in London during the 1960s, Tom Hardy stars in a dual role as twin brothers, Ronnie and Reggie Kray, who climb from amateur boxers to notorious gangsters who take control of the city. But when Americans try to work with the Kray's to turn London into the Las Vegas of the Europe, the mental instability of Ronnie puts the sibling's growing empire in jeopardy.
No one can argue against the diverse and well-ranged performances from leading man Tom Hardy. The talented actors work has always stood for itself and he clearly continues to shine as the only real reason worth watching Legend. In a bit of a surprise, Helgeland's muddled story is simply a patchwork of disorganized events and under-developed characters. Emily Browning co-stars as Frances, the wife of the more level-headed twin, Reggie. As the narrator of the story you expect so much more from Frances' character, but in the end she reveals herself as merely a shell of a deeper and more interesting personality. With a celebrated writer in the director's chair, it's baffling to see Helgeland deliver a structurally plagued story. And by film's end, Legend can only stand a showcase for Tom Hardy's fine work.