November 17, 2015 at 04:17 PM EST

Just because a film looks like GoodFellas and sounds like Casino doesn’t make it a Martin Scorsese movie. That’s the case with Legend, the gangster drama that stars Tom Hardy in a dual role as both Ronnie and Reggie Kray, the twin crime bosses who ran London’s East End in the ’50s and ’60s and achieved near-celebrity status for their violent exploits.

From the jukebox soundtrack to the roaming camera and quick cuts, writer-director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) borrows a lot from Scorsese without ever quite matching the master’s magic. In the year of Black Mass and now Legend, what’s clearer than ever is that the gangster movie is repeating itself, like a broken Ronettes record.

The film’s saving grace is Hardy, who is as ferocious and watchable as ever, acting smooth and brooding as Reggie and unhinged as Ronnie. His turn as the Krays stands alongside his performances in Mad Max: Fury Road and Locke as definitive proof that he’s one of the few bona fide movie stars working today. B

2015 movie
131 minutes
Brian Helgeland
Complete Coverage

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