THE RISE OF THE KRAYS is one of two Kray twins feature films released this year and certainly the less famous. Directed by Zachary Adler from a script by Sebastian and Ken Brown the film is a stylish but low budget effort starring unknown actors. It takes a basic linear approach to the East End gangsters' lives - starting with the two of them well established as local thugs and taking over local protection rackets. We get Ronnie's first stretch and the purchase of the Double R club.
What I liked about the film was its authentic period detail on a low budget, its stylised cinematography, and the subtle but elegant score. I also really liked Simon Cotton's performance as the psychopathic paranoid schizophrenic Ronnie and the way in which the director focusses in on events that tip him off. There's a great scene where a prison guard says something innocuous to Ronnie and the film slows and we see this relatively unassuming kid turn into an enraged monster. What I didn't like was the hackneyed voiceover and the utter lack of charisma and cinematic heft of Kevin Leslie as Reggie. The twins need to balance each other otherwise we can't understand how Reggie managed to keep Ronnie from utter self-destruction for so long.
THE RISE OF THE KRAYS was released in the UK on DVD in May 2015. It has a running time of 108 minutes and is rated 18 for strong violence and very strong language.