(US - 2012)
Directed by John Hillcoat. Written by Nick Cave. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke, Dane DeHaan, Noah Taylor, Lew Temple, Bill Camp, Tim Tolin. (R, 116 mins)
Director John Hillcoat and musician/screenwriter Nick Cave previously collaborated on the viscerally brutal 2006 western THE PROPOSITION and reunite for this adaptation of Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World. Bondurant's book was loosely based on the Prohibition-era bootlegging experiences of his grandfather Jack and his two great-uncles Howard and Forrest Bondurant, who ran a major moonshine operation in Franklin County, Virginia. LAWLESS has a lot of the same grim, stomach-turning violence that made THE PROPOSITION so memorable, but as a whole, it's not quite as good. It wants to be a 1930s gangster version of THE PROPOSITION, but it has commercial obligations to fulfill, and it's not as well-constructed, with a propensity for corny one-liners and implausible characterization, and a villain who's ultimately too over-the-top for his own good. It's certainly an entertaining film, but it often feels like its issues stemmed more from the editing and not the writing. THE PROPOSITION was a great film, while LAWLESS is merely a good one.
|Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf as|
two of the Bondurant brothers
|Guy Pearce as the evil Charlie Rakes|
|Gary Oldman as big-time gangster Floyd Banner|