Legend (2015)

I am sorry that I seem to go on and on about Tom Hardy, but that guy can freaking act. He's the reason this movie was even on my list, and why wouldn't he be? The movie really doesn't have many other major actors. After all, he occupies the two main parts.

Tom plays two identical twin brothers. Now, this kind of thing has been done to horrible effect in other movies such as the legendary Van Damme epic Double Impact or the Adam Sandler art piece Jack and Jill, but it was done much better in movies such as The Prestige or Adaptation. The trick is, I think, to write the story in such a way that the audience is never confused about who is who, even if the other characters on screen are. This boils down to acting, costumes, and continuity.

The real problem settles in when you try to establish the characters. The audience doesn't know these people, so you have to establish one character, then move on to establish the other. Another option is to simply throw the audience into the deep end and rely less on the story than on the actor and the costumes. In this movie, the only real differences are a slight hairstyle change and glasses. Tom tries kind of a whiny voice for one of them and a slightly less whiny voice for the other, but they are both really muddled with the way he applies the accent and, in general, mumbles.

This is not to say that Tom doesn't play each role well - he always brings an "A-list" talent to whatever role he's in. Hell, he carried the entire damn movie in Locke. But it took a while to really differentiate between the two brothers. I'm thinking that it was mostly an issue with the story's character development. These two brothers were more similar than they were different. They were both pretty psychopathic and divorced from reality, but in different ways. It just took too long to be able to keep track of them well enough to lose yourself in the storyline.

Once you do get into the story, you realize that it isn't just a tale of two brothers, but it is a story about their love/hate relationship with each other and the trouble that they get into as a result. It also is their relationship with the woman who comes between them and the love that they each have for her in very different ways.

As a side benefit, we get sub-plots with the British investigative services, the American mob, the local gangs, and a list of celebrities who all cross paths with the duo. The pacing in the movie is probably the best part of this thriller with everything kept up and running through most of the movie, and the audience is not left wanting for more intrigue.

Direction was good
Story was generally good
Art direction was very good
Acting was excellent
Dialogue was good

Bottom Line: A good British mobster movie, all told, once you can keep track of the characters.



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