LEGEND (2015)
2015, Universal, 131 min, UK/France, Dir: Brian Helgeland

Based on the novel The Profession of Violence, LEGEND follows the criminal history of notorious twin gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (both played by Tom Hardy), who terrorised London’s East End throughout the 1960s and left a legacy of fear and respect that persisted for decades. Told from the perspective of Reggie’s wife, Frances (Emily Browning), the film is unflinchingly violent and brilliantly funny, with a strangely glossy look at the East End that provides a wonderful counter-balance to the Krays' gruesome acts of brutality. Christopher Eccleston provides memorable support as the almost-comical detective Leonard “Nipper” Read, who is determined to bring down the Krays.


SLEEPING BEAUTY (2011)
2011, Sundance Selects, 104 min, Australia, Dir: Julia Leigh

Reckless college student Lucy (Emily Browning in an arresting performance, somnambulistic and quietly despairing) has a careening, precarious lifestyle, juggling various degrading day jobs while seating herself at a dimly lit bar in the after-hours, numbly agreeing to meaningless trysts with the patrons. When she accepts a high-paying position at a specialized brothel, headed by exacting madame Clara (Rachael Blake) and requiring its prostitutes to be drugged into slumber while impotent older men lie with them, the seemingly shock-absorbent Lucy reaches her breaking point. Julia Leigh’s remarkably visionary directorial debut is a hypnotically bleak, nightmarishly kinky portrait of a young woman on the verge of sobering self-discovery, at once recalling Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT and Luis Bunuel’s BELLE DE JOUR.


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