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  Krays, The They Only Went After Their Own, Y'Know
Year: 1990
Director: Peter Medak
Stars: Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Billie Whitelaw, Tom Bell, Kate Hardie, Jimmy Jewel, Susan Fleetwood, Charlotte Cornwell, Steven Berkoff, Michael Elphick, Sadie Frost, Norman Rossington, Victor Spinetti, Murray Melvin, Stephen Lewis, John McEnery
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the Sixties, twin brothers Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Martin Kemp and Gary Kemp) made a big impression as London gangsters. But they sowed the seeds of their own downfall...

Philip Ridley wrote the screenplay for this British underworld biopic. If it had been made at the other end of the 90's, the film would have focused more on the Kray's celebrity and probably added a few more jokes and pop hits on the soundtrack. As it is, this is an arthouse version of their story, more concerned with the idea of the brothers than portraying an accurate account of events. It has more in common with British movie gangsters than the real ones.

The film concentrates on the Kray's domestic lives rather than their "professional" lives. The formidable Billie Whitelaw plays Violet Kray, the boys' mother, and is shown as the tower of strength behind them. Casting Spandau Ballet's Kemp brothers is a novelty that pays off, as they're surprisingly good; Gary (Ronnie) gets to struggle with homosexuality and Martin (Reggie) gets to struggle with his highly-strung wife (Kate Hardie). According to this, it's the working class, post-war background that made the brothers what they were - the mothers are all tough-as-nails, while the weak fathers are boys who never grew up (as we're frequently reminded).

The trouble is, by downplaying the glamour, The Krays dilutes the interest that people had in the real-life brothers. Maybe The Craze would have been a better title to work with. Also appearing, to add to the host of recognisable British faces: Michael Elphick in prison, Sadie Frost, Stephen Lewis (you know, Blakey), shopkeepers Murray Melvin and Norman Rossington, dad Victor Spinetti, and Mark Burdis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Peter Medak  (1937 - )

Variable Hungarian-born director who alternates between the big screen and the small screen. Arthouse hits like Negatives, satire The Ruling Class and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg gave way to comedy - Zorro: The Gay Blade - and classy horror - The Changeling. In the nineties, he went from gangster movie The Krays to morbid thriller Romeo is Bleeding to over-the-top sci-fi sequel Species II.

 
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