The Krays: Dead Man Walking

The film world’s continued fascination with the Krays continues with this new production which unlike the others concentrates on just one well known chapter in their story, Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell.

Mitchell as you may not know was a career criminal who became mates with Ronnie Kray when they were both inside.  Mitchell escaped with the aid of the Krays whilst he was on Dartmoor with other prisoners.  Ronnie and Reggie then put Mitchell in a flat out of harm’s way until things cooled down as a massive manhunt by the police had been instigated.  Mitchell unfortunately was ‘not right in the head’ and had a horrendous temper, soon the twins regretted springing him from jail.  To calm him down they got a ‘hostess’ to keep him company but there was really one outcome to the whole saga.

Although The Krays name is prominent in the movie’s title and the obviously selling point, the twins take a supporting role in this film and let hard-man actor Josh Myers and Eastenders’ Rita Simons take centre stage.  Producer Jonathan Sothcott and writer-director Richard John Taylor have roped in a reliable bunch of familiar British character actors including Christopher ‘DI Burnside from The Bill) Ellison, Guy ‘Henrik Hanssen from Holby City/Tarkin in Rogue One) Henry, Nicholas ‘Hazell’ Ball and in his last role Leslie ‘Dirty Den’ Grantham.  The attention to detail is good and there are some cringe inducing violent moments but you would expect this considering the subject matter.

The film is going to obviously be compared to the recent Legend with Tom Hardy and The Krays starring Gary and Martin Kemp especially when it comes to seeing how well the twins are portrayed on screen.  Both Marc Pickering and Nathanjohn Carter do pretty well in their roles with Carter going into full ‘looney mode’ a couple of times as Ronnie.  Josh Myers does a grand job as Mitchell who certainly was a nasty piece of work but did have a sort side on occasion.  He also had a role (and Carter) in David Sullivan’s back to back Krays films a couple of years ago which conveniently came out around the same time as Legend.  Rita Simons plays opposite a Mitchell this time (instead of being one as she was Roxy in Eastenders) and the role of Lisa is a pretty meaty role as the character’s arc does involve being a bit of a physical and emotional punchbag.

Is it as good as Legend or Peter Medak’s film with the Spandau Ballet boys?  Possibly not but then Medak’s film is a bona fide classic and Legend was a damn good  ‘Hollywood’ version of the story.

Saying that, Dead Man Walking is in my opinion a terrific addition to the genre of low budget gritty British hard-man films such as the various Essex Boys pictures.  The film makers should be congratulated on pulling it all off especially whoever found the world’s grottiest flat where Mitchell is holed up in.  Finally a huge thumbs up for Taylor’s script by using real life names as it gives it all a great authentic feel.

  • Starring Rita Simons  Josh Myers  Guy Henry  Chris Ellison  Leslie Grantham. A Manky Flat
  • Director Richard John Taylor