The Krays: Dead Man Walking
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The Krays: Dead Man Walking

The story of London’s notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray has been told several times over the past 50 years in books, documentaries and movies, most notably in the over-stylised The Krays movie from 1990 and the recent The Rise & Fall of The Krays from 2016 (which features cast members from this film but in different roles), but The Krays: Dead Man Walking is a little different in that it doesn’t feel the need to go over their upbringing and rise through the London underworld for the umpteenth time. Instead, writer/director Richard John Taylor assumes you are already au fait with their story and where An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn they are at this point in their lives, the year being 1966 and the film opening with Ronnie (Nathanjohn Carter – The Rise & Fall of The Krays) and Reggie (Marc Pickering – Sleepy Hollow) sitting on a park bench discussing breaking Ronnie’s former prison buddy Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell (Josh Myers – World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries) out of jail so they can celebrate Christmas together.

After the credits, Frank is free and holed up in a dingy flat in London waiting for Ronnie to visit and arrange for him to spend Christmas in the Kent countryside with the twins and their associates. However, Frank has anger management problems and is very distrusting of anybody who he comes into contact with and so it is up to Kray henchman Albert Donoghue (Chris Ellison – Buster) to placate the hulking psychopath with the help of ‘hostess’ Lisa Prescott (Rita Simons – Eastenders), who manages to keep The Mad Axeman in a manageable state, although he still insists on seeing Ronnie, who has yet to make an appearance.

Taking place over 12 days, The Krays: Dead Man Walking tells the Frank Mitchell story in a very concise way but sensibly keeps Ronnie and Reggie in the background, briefly dipping into their lives with Reggie going through his separation from his wife Frances and also touching on Ronnie’s involvement with Lord Boothby (Guy Henry – Star Wars: The Last Jedi) but these scenes feel a little shoehorned in just to remind you that this is a still a Krays film and not a Frank Mitchell one. In all honesty, it didn’t really need to delve too deeply into the twins’ lives as Josh Myers and Rita Simons do a terrific job with their roles, especially Simons who gives a career-best performance as the tough-as-nails Lisa who seems to be the only person save from Ronnie Kray who can keep Frank under control. Credit also to veteran actor Chris Ellison who has made a career out of playing underworld villains and bent coppers but gives his Albert Donaghue a bit of heart to go along with his tough-guy exterior, making his appearances on-screen more impactful and memorable than Nathanjohn Carter and Marc Pickering, who both do a good job but Ronnie and Reggie as characters in a film are in danger of becoming parodies of our public perception of them, with Ronnie as the cold and calculating psychopath and Reggie as the more sensitive, less dangerous one, as evidenced in a fairly unnecessary scene with Darren Day (Rough Cut) as an aggrieved father confronting the twins about their behaviour towards his son.

Duration: N/A



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The Krays: Dead Man Walking