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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Krays: Dead Man Walking


Starring: Marc Pickering, Nathanjohn Carter, Rita Simons, Josh Myers, Chris Ellison, Leslie Grantham, Nicholas Ball and Guy Henry
Distributor: 4 Digital Media
RRP: £12.99
5 035822 999633
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 10 September 2018

Ronnie and Reggie Kray are at the height of their power and influence, ready to cement everything they have accomplished in the criminal world. At this point, they decide to spring Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell from jail, in a bizarre attempt to prove to Detective Nipper Read that they are untouchable. Hiding him away in a safe flat they soon discover that there are very good reasons that the ultraviolent Frank has earned the moniker ‘Mad’. As the situation starts to spiral out of their control, Ronnie and Reg must make a decision about Frank’s future…

The Krays: Dead Man Walking (2018. 1 hr, 19 min, 20 sec) is a true-life crime drama, written and directed by Richard John Taylor.

Although it is somewhere between brave and foolhardy to decide to make a film about the Krays, a subgenre already filled with iconic representations of the twins, Taylor very nearly makes a movie to stand alongside some of the best British gangster films. But, unfortunately, the film fails from a case of a thousand small errors.

The brothers are played by Marc Pickering (Reggie) and Nathanjohn Carter (Ronnie) who are not bad in their roles. While they are suitably arrogant and menacing in the role, the portrayal loses the subtly of previous versions, at times coming perilously close to falling into a caricature. Josh Myers plays the titular dead man walking, Frank. There is little required of the character apart for a penchant for rape and violence.

When the Krays cannot find a way of keeping Frank quiet and unobtrusive they hire a tart with a heart, Lisa Prescott (Rita Simons). In truth the best bit about the film is Simons's performance, one of the few actors who turns in a nuanced portrayal. There are other well-known actors who pop up for small sections, Guy Henry turns in a vignette of Lord Boothby, quickly establishing him as a very disreputable character and Leslie Grantham sleep walks through a portrayal of Nipper Read.

The biggest problem the film has is with its focus, just what story is it trying to tell? Often the focus moves away from the central story to add known ephemera from the Kray’s history. While we all know what happened to Reggie Kray's wife, its inclusion in the film just pulls the audience’s attention away from Frank. This happens several times, leaving a somewhat fractured tone to the whole endeavour.

The DVD comes with a full-length director’s commentary, it’s a sparse affair. The film arrives with audio options for either a DD 5.1 surround track or DD 2.0.


Charles Packer

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