My Rating: 2 stars
I really really wanted this movie to be good. It stars two Tom Hardys and one Emily Browning. I love him, and she’s adorable. Tom Hardy plays the Kray twins—Ronnie and Reggie. Ronnie is in love with Browning. And Reggie is gay and has all kinds of debaucherous romps and various man-strumpets hanging around. How good is that?!? And this is a movie about gangsters in 1960s London. Sex, booze, drugs, crime—how could you mess that up? But somehow the filmmakers did. They take a story that should by all accounts be an exciting, violent thriller. But, the movie drags on and on, and never seems to be going anywhere. I think it’s a problem with editing more than anything.
The movie isn’t unreasonably long or anything. It’s two hours and twelve minutes with the credits. But, it feels like an eternity. It seems like the screenwriters couldn’t commit to just one story line. Rather than giving us the traditional narrative arc that we’ve come to expect from a feature film, the movie offers a series of vignettes that happened at various points during the Krays’ criminal reign over London. As a result, it’s hard to get a firm understanding of just how much time is passing in the story. Is it a story taking place over the course of weeks, months, years? It’s all pretty fuzzy, and it makes the plot all the more difficult to track.
I’ll admit that I had already braced myself for this movie to be a stinker. I wanted to like it, but I had read a review describing the film as “unwatchable.” So, I was prepared. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call the movie unwatchable, but I certainly got a strong urge to start folding some laundry and tidying up the den about a third of the way in. That can’t be a good sign. But, at least the acting is good. Tom Hardy kills at just about anything he does. And, he does an expert job of playing these twins. Granted, the Kray twins have enough differentiating characteristics that it’d be pretty easy to tell the two apart no matter who played them. But, Hardy really projects completely different personalities when playing the two. Even though the characters are identical twins, we don’t get the impression that they look the same because they radiate such different energies. And, Emily Browning remains the darling, little elf that she always is. So cute. You can totally tell how a sweet-faced girl like that would drive a gangster wild. If only the writing could have measured up to their talent.
I do not recommend this movie. I think that even die-hard Tom Hardy fans will be gravely disappointed after sitting through this muddled mess. Maybe look at a few still photos online, and then go watch something else. You’ll be doing yourself a favor. But, I guess if you must watch this one, stock up on a lot of handiwork to keep yourself occupied while watching. That way it won’t be a complete waste of time.