Skip to content

Lawless (2012) Movie Review

September 3, 2012

The current debate about marijuana has made talk of how things were during Prohibition era America more popular.  “Lawless” is based on the novel called “The Wettest County in the World,” which tells the story of the Bondurant family’s work bootlegging in Franklin County Virginia.  In true American spirit, the bootleggers found a way to brew the high-alcohol-content moonshine so powerful that it made you hallucinate and was highly flammable.  Because the liquid was illegal, it led to a lot of violence as various gangsters fought to control the source of money.

“Lawless” is a bleak look at the time period as the Bondurant family faces off against Special Agent Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) who comes into town intent on shutting down all the bootleggers using any means necessary.  Like “The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford” before it, “Lawless” is filmed in the old style and takes its time to provoke contemplation in the audience.  The story blends reality with legend beautifully as we hear about how the Bondurant boys, Forrest (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Shia LaBeouf) are immortal and un-touchable.  Much of this likely comes from the trance-like state that moonshine will put you in.

The acting of everyone involved is fabulous.  Guy Pearce takes on his character completely and dominates the screen with his menacing grimace.  Tom Hardy brings a cold, dispassionate, feel to Forrest, and yet you can always tell he means business.  Shia LaBeouf gives the best performance I’ve seen from him yet.  His character goes through a number of personality developments over the course of the picture that wouldn’t be possible without his powerful acting.  The rest of the cast is quite good as well.  Even the minor characters have unique personality.

“Lawless” is at its core dark, violent, and gritty.  The beatings the characters dish out and take are some of the most brutal I’ve seen on film.  They pack a refreshingly realistic punch in an era where most film violence is so extreme it lacks realism.  Nick Cave and Warren Ellis wrote a number of songs for the film as well as a small amount of score in their signature brooding Americana sound.  “Lawless” is not an easy film to watch but it is impossible to look away because you don’t want to miss a second.  If you liked “Jessie James”, don’t miss “Lawless.”

4.5/5

Advertisements

From → Drama, Historical

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: