Another movie about The Krays? Or rather, another two movies about The Krays? Well yeah, some tales can deal with being told a number of times in a number of different ways. Those of a certain age will always rank the Kemp brothers version as the best, it was a gritty Brit drama similar in look and feeling to The Long Good Friday, which is as big a compliment as you can pay to such a film.
The recent Legend was decent, but the fact that Tom Hardy played both twins perhaps meant that they did not seem as individual as they do in this version.
Rise Of The Krays belongs to Simon Cotton as Ronnie Kray, some might find his performance as hammy as a ham salad but this is exactly how the real thing was, as you would know if you have read any of the excellent books on the case. His roar before going into ‘battle’ seems like a switch that triggers hatred and violence and it really is a great piece of work. Kevin Leslie as Reggie spends much of the first film in the background, letting his brother call the shots and direct the ultraviolence like a dance instructor controlling the waltz. It is in The Fall Of The Krays that he comes into his own. His silent rage begins to bleed out, sometimes literally, following Frances’ suicide and with both characters now willing to do anything to stay in control, the second film is the more exciting and electric.
Special nod should go to Phil Dunster as Dickie, a character that narrates the tale – then again, perhaps the way he is shown is a little too sympathetic considering he is right there while the violence is going down, he is totally part of the horror and we are supposed to feel sorry for him when he is having girl troubles? (This thought only came to me after watching it, when he is on screen, he lights it up).
The Rise And Fall Of The Krays, because let’s face it, you are hardly likely to just watch the first one, is a decent telling of 60’s London, more TV movie than the big screen Hardy vehicle, but the subjects work well in this environment, it does not need a big budget, just good performances and both Ronnie and Reggie are well presented in this area. Worth a look.