Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Lawless – Film Review
First off I’m glad to be back talking to yinz, it truly tickles me that some of you read this column on accident, I’m a jackass
Anyways moving right along… Lawless, pretty solid flick. Shia Lebeouf actually plays a character with some depth and Tom Hardy is back to his usual manliness.
The movie centers around the exploits of three back county bootleggers and professional hard-asses known as the Bondurant brothers. Immediately viewers are plunged into the Prohibition Era’s “wettest county on earth” (Franklin County, VA), a time and place as savage and genuine as any in U.S history.
Despite the initial fiery impression that this film’s trailers impart, the end product more closely resembles a nuanced non-fiction novel (that’s alliteration – stepping it up this year) than an 80’s style action flick.
Based on historical events, Lawless boasts an atypical plot progression that simultaneously manages to layer character development with visceral action scenes.
Although it may seem a tad dude-oriented, Lawless can indeed mollify even picky audiences of both genders with its engaging historical insights and romantic sub-plots.
Deep southern codes of honor clash with the march of progress. Tasty justice is dealt and painful blows are received.
Though my review has been glowing up to this point, I will concede that I was a bit peeved at certain points in the film.Stunning character studies and more than photogenic Appalachian setting fell prey on occasion to superfluous shots of Shia just being Shia. Shia flat out wasn’t the most interesting character in the film, he does a good job but he just wasn’t the actor I wanted to see.
However, the film more than compensated for that with Guy Pearce’s rejuvenated portrayal of a corrupt and genuinely creepy federal deputy. Jason Clarke (Public Enemies) also proved that his capability as a character actor, bringing surprising depth to his role as the middle brother Howard Bondurant.
Indubitably, Tom Hardy steals the show. Hardy’sone of the few actors that I truly feel has the “it-factor”. He is fast approaching the likes of Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in terms of tough guys with acting chops.
I would hesitate to call this movie an out-and-out homerun. But when you cast actors exceptionally well, and you aim as high as director John Hillcoat did with Lawless, it is not a surprise that this one delivered the goods. Totes worth it.