- Director: John Hillcoat
- Writers: Nick Cave (screenplay), Matt Bondurant (novel)
- Stars: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke
- Release Date: August 2012
- Run Time: 116 min
- Genre: Crime, Drama, Western
When the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes.
Lawless is a great film that combines two amazing genres of the Gangster Film and Western Film. Filled with superb direction,great performances and memorable characters Lawless is one of the best films of the year.
Lawless tells the true(although probably fictionalized)story of the Bondurant brothers Jack Bondurant(Shia LaBeouf)and his older brothers Forrest Bondurant(Tom Hardy)and Howard Bondurant(Jason Clarke) who sell illegal liquor during Prohibition in Franklin County,Virginia during the depression era and having great success. But when a corrupt lawman from Chicago named Charlie Rakes(Guy Pierce) has been brought in as a new special deputy to make life tough for the Bondurants and their business,the Bondurants must band together and put a stop to it.
Lawless is a great film from beginning to end that will have you glued to the screen but will divide viewers because in it’s own way Lawless subverts the gangster movie genre because it’s not a morality tale or a rise and fall gangster film like we’ve seen in the past it’s a story about a family of brothers trying to survive and defend themselves from enemies. The direction by John Hillcoat is wonderful, bringing the same grit and style that Hillcoat brought to the underrated,overlooked western The Proposition and his other underrated film the Cormac McCarthy adaptation The Road. Of these three films,Lawless is definitely the lightest of the three. The movie isn’t "light" light what i mean is that this film while violent and gritty has some humor in the film doesn’t have the bleak and hopelessness that The Proposition and The Road had. The action and violence in the film by Hillcoat is well done whether it be shootouts,fights or beat downs. The violence comes fast and quick and done with brutality and style. The script and score by Nick Cave(the score co-written with Warren Ellis) is excellent with the script giving the characters wonderful dialog and depth. The score is great and it goes with the tone of the film. Hillcoat and Cave had worked together before on The Proposition and they have both done a great job once again.
The acting from the cast is great. Shia LaBeouf is great as Jack Bondurant the youngest of the three Boundurant brothers who wants to prove himself. I don’t understand why LaBeouf gets so much hate as an actor because I think he’s fine actor and LaBeouf gives a great performance here. Tom Hardy is excellent as Forrest bringing a gruff and toughness to the character. With this performance and his performance in The Dark Knight Rises,Hardy will be considered one of the best actors of his generation. Jason Clarke also does a fine job as Howard the other older Boundurant even though Clarke doesn’t have much to do like LaBeouf or Hardy. The underrated Guy Pierce is simply amazing as the villain Charlie Rakes bringing a creepy and dangerous vibe to the character. Like other great villains in recent years like Anton Chigurh(No Country For Old Men),The Joker(The Dark Knight),and Hans Landa(Inglorious Basterds),Rakes isn’t in the movie much but he’s in the film long enough that leaves a lasting impression. Gary Oldman is great as always in his cameo appearance as gangster Floyd Banner. I wish Oldman had gotten more screen time. Jessica Chastain is wonderful and sexy as Maggie a woman who leaves Chicago and comes to Frankin County to help the Boundurants and becomes a love interest to Forrest. Mia Wasikowska is fabulous as Bertha a preacher’s daughter that Jack likes and wants to be with. Dane DeHaan does a fine job as Cricket Pete a kid who helps the Boundurants. The whole cast is excellent.
If you love Crime Dramas,Gangster Films,Westerns,or the television show Boardwalk Empire(One of my favorites)you’ll love Lawless an entertaining tale filled with great direction,acting and story. One of the best films of the year and well worth your time. 10/10.
good movies to watch