The first thing to say is that Zackary Adler’s film, Fall of the Krays, is a sequel of sorts; a second part of a pair, if you will. Worry not though, because if you were unaware that (part one) Rise of the Krays even existed, it will have absolutely no bearing on your enjoyment of this film; you still won’t like it.
This part follows the East End’s most notorious gangsters as their empire begins to crumble, mainly due to Ronnie’s unpredictable personality. With nearly four hours of film in total, it was a tough ask for the filmmakers to fill the entire running time successfully, but you hope there would have been some moments of interest.
Of the multitude of issues that befall Adler’s second film, the most prominent is that this is a story we all feel we know fairly well. Whether from Martin and Gary Kemp’s version from 1990 or the Tom Hardy vehicle from 2015, there is little mystery to the story of The Krays, and this film feels like it is just trying to connect up various significant episodes in their lives without instilling any energy or passion; almost like a greatest hits package from a band you know far too well and who should have retired years ago. The central problem is that there are no interesting points of view, no insight or refreshing perspective to the characters, and nothing is as stylistically portrayed as you will have seen before.
The performances are fine for the most part, but the supporting cast vary dramatically from unconvincing to just downright awkward. The feeling you are left with is that these are simply actors playing roles, and while that may seem an obvious statement, it is something that keeps the film at arm’s length, never allowing you to really engage with the performances. More caricature than character.
The episodic nature of the script also stunts the narrative severely, never allowing it to flow organically, and in splitting the story into two films Adler has needed to greatly increase the “filler” between those episodes, leaving the finished film dull and lifeless, making the dramatic wearily melodramatic.
Sadly, while the subject matter will always warrant interest, Fall of the Krays feels like a second-rate television movie produced for one of those channels you skim past while looking for something else. It offers nothing new, and strangely doesn’t even offer something old to the story of The Krays. If you watched the first film then this follow-up may be of some interest, but other than that it just feels like an alarmingly poor attempt at trying to cash in on the hype surrounding Tom Hardy’s superficial but stylised Legend.
THE FALL OF THE KRAYS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ZACKARY ADLER / SCREENPLAY: KEN BROWN, SEBASTIAN BROWN / STARRING: GEORGE WEBSTER, ALEXA MORDEN, SIMON COTTON, KEVIN LESLIE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 28TH