Saturday, September 05, 2015


THE KRAYS: KILL ORDER is a lo-fi but insightful and balanced documentary fronted by Bernard O'Mahoney, who was a Kray associate.  His presentation style may be stilted - he sounds like he's reading off a script as he awkwardly faces the camera - but you can't fault the access he has to the Krays associates and the way in which he inter-cuts differing views of controversial events.

The documentary takes a linear approach. It tells us about the twins growing up in East London, their vicious energy channelled into boxing.  Dodging the law and national service, making a name for themselves as running protection, the moving onto more general villainy. Intimidating Peter Rachman, getting a West End club, going inside, and the dangerous psychosis that undermined their criminal enterprise.  There's Ronnie's homosexual affair with a Lord and his deep paranoid schizophrenia.  There's Reggie's marriage to the tragic Frances Shea and accusations of who may have murdered her. And finally, the murders. 

A good example of the approach of the film is to the suicide of Reggie's wife.  We get glamour girl Maureen Flanagan defending Ronnie of charges of murdering Francis, because he would never had betrayed his brother like that. Than self-appointed Kray consigliere Toby Von Judge accusing Violet Kray of having killed Frances.  O'Mahoney is well aware of the legends and myths surrounding the Krays - and of their own role in creating them.  He knows he can't answer what really happened. But in showing the various reactions  - thinking the worst and most twisted - thinking the best - he can show the impact that the Krays have had on popular culture.  The staunch defenders of the East End lads who loved their mother, to those willing to thing of them as sexual deviants and serial killers. It's all there. And like I said, even if Kray aficionados don't learn anything new in this documentary, the new interviews are certainly worth watching.

THE KRAYS: KILL ORDER has a running time of 88  minutes and is available on demand this weekend and on DVD on September 16th. It is rated 15 for strong language and references to violence.

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