THE KRAYS


1990

DIRECTOR: Peter Medak

May Contain Spoilers!

This brutal portrayal of the infamous Kray twins who operated their gang of organised criminals in the east-end of London during the 50’s and 60’s, does leave something to be desired. Focusing not on the biographical rise and fall of these two gangsters, but instead looking in to the psyche of them and those around them.

The portrayal of gritty post war London, along with a refreshingly female-centric tone, in which The Krays and even their fellow gangsters, have an at times unhealthy respect for the women in their neighbourhoods, whilst others suffer at the hands of their men.

Scenes of Mrs Kray bringing her sons tea and biscuits as they hold top-level meetings up stairs sums up the relationships, as do anecdotes of what women had to suffer during the war years. My only real grip would be a lack of insight into the rise and fall of the brothers, with little in the way explanation as to how these two became gangsters.

The other issues are that there was little exploration of their other brother but it’s the casting of Martin and Gary Kemp as The Krays. I didn’t think that it worked too well. It was okay, with Gary standing out as the more unstable brother, but overall, and even though their was a lot of time given to the fact that these twins had a fascinating way of thinking as a one, and the dark, evil eyes, they seemed to be providing somewhat wooden performances.

Overall though, the tone was good, gritty and insightful which for a gangster film, sets it apart from many others, but I would liked to have seem more of their rise and how they operated, but was left asking too many questions. This is a biopic for those who already know something about the subject and I don’t know much about The Krays at all, besides their names…

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