A grim and gripping biopic of the East End gangster brothers. 4/5 stars
Spandau Ballet band members Gary and Martin Kemp confounded expectations when they proved to be perfectly cast as Britain’s most notorious twin gangsters.
Gary wears glasses as Ronnie, Martin plays Reg and marries Kate Hardie, Billie Whitelaw is their strong-willed mum and Steven Berkoff and Tom Bell are two of their victims.
The combination of Philip Ridley’s script and Peter Medak’s direction brims with confidence and the story balances the graphically portrayed violence with other, more reflective, moments that place the twins’ vicious lifestyle into an almost surreal, dreamlike perspective.
Among the more subtle things in this brutal but never glamourised true story are the contrast between the brothers’ huge black cars and their mother’s cramped terraced house, mum organising tea during a gang meeting and Stephen Lewis turning up as a wartime copper hunting their dad. Compulsive viewing.