“Legend”

“Legend”
Directed by Brian Helgeland

Legend-PreviewIt’s not often a soundtrack ruins a film for me. And it’s almost unicorn-like when that composer is someone I love as much as Carter Burwell….

“Legend” is a fascinating film on so many levels! It graces us with an INCREDIBLE tour-de-force performance by Tom Hardy as BOTH of the Kray twins, who wreaked havoc in the gangster underbelly of London during the early sixties. It also boasts a superb supporting cast that makes the period sing (especially Emily Browning – who is almost painfully stunning). AND a  wonderful story, script and pace with a fitting and satisfying ending! What’s not to like?

Well, I can only assume Burwell was told to write his score for a particular Helgeland version of the film, and then Helgeland changed everything up and forgot to tell Burwell. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a beautiful score…very comparable to Mark Isham’s score for Alan Rudolph’s  “Love At Large.” [and, by the way, where has Rudolph been?] But in the context of this film, it makes no sense. And every time Helgeland goes to one of Burwell’s compositions, the audience member is thrown out of the film. Wrong period, wrong feel, just wrong, wrong, wrong. The soundtrack, on the other hand, fares much better. It’s lovely to see Duffy on screen as the ubiquitous lounge singer. THAT’S the lane the score should have been in. If there had been other aspects of the film where the story connects to later eras, then fine, but it does not.

To be sure, it’s really, really, REALLY worth watching to see Hardy and Browning…and to view a wonderfully dense vision of London in the early sixties! But, if you find yourself confused halfway through for seemingly no reason…shut your ears off.

 

Written 1/29/2016

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