The notorious Kray twins, gangsters who ruled London’s East End in the 50s and 60s, are legendary figures in England, and screenwriter Philip Ridley boasts that his account of their lives is blatantly unfactual, unsullied by a scrap of research. His ambitious script blames everything on the permissive matriarchy that reared the brothers, though it isn’t quite as simpleminded as it sounds. With Martin and Gary Kemp (from the pop group Spandau Ballet) as the twins—the former straight, the latter gay—and the remarkable Billie Whitelaw as their mother, this movie has a certain depth and class. But the macabre violence—dished out strategically and qualitatively (with sabers) rather than quantitatively—is extremely unpleasant. Peter Medak (The Ruling Class) directed with some sweep and force, but the thoughtful dimensions of this English picture don’t entirely overcome or justify the general coldness and nastiness. With Tom Bell, Kate Hardie, and Susan Fleetwood (1990).