May 3, 2015

Trailing Off: "Legend" (2015)

Left to right: Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy
Welcome to the weekly column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. Coming every Sunday (it's called Trailing Off for a reason), I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: Brian Helgeland
Written By: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton

- Dissection -

To get the obvious question out of the way: I did not choose to do Woody Allen's Irrational Man this week because his trailers aren't the type that grab me. I already am a fan and will see his work regardless. However, there is another name who I have come to trust, but am still on the fence with trusting on every last project. I am talking about Tom Hardy. While he has made a name for himself with a lot of compelling cinema in the past five years, he still has had trouble making a legitimate jump to great films. He is the type who could do action or more serious drama depending on what he's dumped in. However, some cases lead to Child 44 or This Means War while others are Locke or Inception. It is a gamble with him and even the crazy-looking Mad Max: Fury Road is somewhat of a conflicting gamble for me. 
Don't get me wrong, I love him when he is on. Captures a certain charisma that is kind of charming. However, the one unfortunate thing of being part of a gambling performer for me is that I don't immediately recognize all of his upcoming projects. Yes, it is important to stay busy. That makes plenty of sense. However, there's a difference between doing a lot of nonsensical roles and taking challenges to expand your potential. For me, I feel like Hardy is doing the latter, which makes him an all right performer in my book.
However, there is one thing that I want to note that makes this a little more interesting than other Hardy films. He is working with Brian Helgeland. While that name isn't immediately familiar, he is the person who directed L.A. Confidential. He is someone who knows how to do contemporary noir and make it shine in interesting ways. That film was a Best Picture nominee and helped to maintain Russell Crowe's status as a big performer. I can only imagine that while I doubt that the prestige will still hold for Legend, it will at least provide some interesting results for Hardy. I have no real knowledge of this film other than that it is a dual role, so that should be interesting, especially as we are coming off of 2014 and the year of multiple dual roles including The Double, Enemy and The One I Love.

- Dissection -

It is pretty much the type of trailer that you'd expect from a film that is supposed to be a cool film noir. It has a classic rock song playing over all of the footage as we are introduced to the characters. We get that cheeky joke about Tom Hardy playing two roles as the credits list him twice. There's a personality to it that is a little bit familiar and fun. It gets you excited to watch as the events unfold and you see him perform the mob boss routines that the text suggests that he does. In fact, that's pretty much the highlight of the trailer.
I am not saying that it doesn't look interesting, but it definitely has a bit of a challenge in getting me to care about the film. I know that trailers are a hard sell and sometimes have to conceal information to get an audience interested. However, this does feel like the blueprint formula for the film noir trailer format and I am unsure if it makes all that much of an impact for me. I don't necessarily come away with more interest to see it than I did beforehand. This doesn't mean that it looks bad. It simply means that the trailer doesn't leave much of an impression on me.
It is also a tough call because it plays to the basic core of why I will see it. It is from the writer of L.A. Confidential and features solid looking cinematography. However, it doesn't offer much in the way of interesting moments that are unique and stand out. Yes, we see dual Hardy, which is something that I really like seeing. However, I do think that there's more to this that could have been done. Simply going to last week's Black Mass would suggest that there's ways to present this information in informative but mystic ways. I wish that this was a little bit more creative, though I get its vague formatting.

- One Sentence Sell -

Tom Hardy plays twin brothers in a mob movie from the director of a very good mob movie.

- Trove or Trash -

This isn't to say that I am not sold, but the whole point of this column is to find trailers that will appeal to viewers and make them more interested in seeing the movies. I may have a harsh curriculum, but it is only to point out that I have a bias towards seeing some movies already, so I need to judge on the grounds of elevating my interest in it. Yes, it looks good, but the trailer doesn't feel like it adds anything new. 

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