7:30 PM, 6th November, 2015
I’ll never forget when Ronnie Kray burnt me with pokers… He ’eld a poker across me eyes and said: “Now I’m going to burn your effing eyes out.” – Lenny Hamilton.
London in the swinging ‘60s couldn’t have swung quite as hard without two charismatic nightclub owners, identical twins Ronald and Reginald Kray. Often seen with celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Barbara Windsor and Diana Dors, they easily became minor celebrities themselves. But, behind the façade, they were London’s most ruthless gang bosses, using psychopathic violence, arson, robbery, blackmail, and standover tactics to rule the East End.
From the role of an almost silent protagonist in Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy here plays a dynamic, sinister dual role as two hard-men cut from a rather different cloth than Max Rockatansky, while Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty, Sucker Punch) supports as Reggie Kray’s beautiful young wife Frances Shea, whom he started grooming from prison when she was still just sixteen. Ronald Kray’s tastes, on the other hand, run to men – and the openly gay gangster finds his sexual conquests create valuable leverage over peers and ponces alike.
Based on John Pearson’s biography “The Profession of Violence”, writer-director Brian Helgeland – who wrote acclaimed noir L.A. Confidential – lavishly recreates the opulent criminal underworld of the Krays as, dressed by Saville Row and tooled for murder, they cut a swath of unstoppable destruction throughout London.
9:51 PM, 6th November, 2015
This German historical drama tells the story of a failed assassination attempt against Hitler in 1939.
Paced as an action-thriller, the film is in fact about Georg Elser, a German pacifist, who tried to stop Hitler’s reign by planting a bomb in a tavern where Hitler was to address the National Socialist Party. As the film’s German title indicates, had the plot worked, he would have changed the world.
Elser’s story is not broadly known. By some he is referred to as an assassin, and by others as one of the greatest resistance fighters in WWII history. The coup mounted against Hitler by Claus von Stauffenberg in 1944 is better known. No doubt Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, which retold that story, popularised this second coup.
This is not the first historical movie directed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel. He also directed Diana about the late Princess of Wales and the brilliant Downfall, that retold Adolf Hitler’s final ten days, so he’s definitely back in familiar – and very welcome – territory here.