In movies imitation has always been seen as the most sincere form of flattery. It’s also a way for lesser movies to make a cash grab off the back of a bigger name release. After the announcement of the Kray’s film Legend starring Tom Hardy as both of the brothers unsurprisingly other films and documentaries popped onto the release schedules. The most recent of these, The Rise Of The Krays is out now on DVD.
As the title suggests, the film follows the brothers from their humble beginnings as a pair of low level thugs. They meet with some like minded people and start to expand their empire. Starting with the Regal snooker club they move on to take over the gambling and clubs across the East end of London.
As much as I appreciate the craft and ingenuity that are involved in the making of any film, The Rise Of The Krays is a pretty poor movie. Unfortunately it fails on most levels. Credit needs to be given to the set and costume designers have got the period detail spot on. It really looks the part and the audience gets an idea of what it was like in post war Britain.
The main problem is the way in which the film makers have approached the material. It is nothing new and tends to fall back on cliches and previous stories about the East end. It is full of geezers and hard men all smoking cigarettes and downing neat whiskey. We’ve seen it so many times before that it wouldn’t look out of place in a comedy sketch about the Krays. It gets a bit wearing after a while listening to the low level mutterings of the actors.
The story rushes through the initial rise and then comes to a shuddering halt as Ronnie Kray starts to show signs of mental illness. This leads to conflict between the brothers and some slow motion scenes of Ronnie going insane. Coupled with some fight scenes (again in slow motion) the film just slumps.
This is but the first part of the story though. Another film, The Fall Of The Krays, with the same cast and crew is placed at follow this shortly. I can only assume that it will be of a comparable standard.
Overall, a film that lacks any spark of originality and can only be seen as a cash in. Avoid.