Lawless (2012)

A genuinely distilled cast and performance but it still veers out of a straight line while working on their quick draw stand-off!


The Weinstein Company, Yucaipa Films, Revolt Films and FilmNation Entertainment in association with Benaroya Pictures, Red Wagon Entertainment and Annapurna Pictures present…

The film was based from the historical crime novel of Matt Bondurant titled “The Wettest County in the World” which was published on October 14, 2008. The story depicts the first hand experiences of the author’s grandfather (the youngest of the siblings) and his two great uncles set in Franklin, Virginia where it follows “The Great Franklin Moonshine Conspiracy” in which a series of events were taken into account from the brother’s ”survival of the fittest” bravura against gangs and cops alike!

Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road) gathers another set of Australian homeboys. John has not been able to seize lucrative projects as of to date but he’s getting there seeing that can he can come up with an all-star cast and make some noise about it (well probably they should make it a bit louder). While working with Nick Clave (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) for the second time since “The Proposition” while working also with Guy Pearce. They have both made this film very promising as it was given already positive expectations due to its

Set in the 1920’s to 1930’s era where every man starts to make a living for himself, where people find any means necessary to survive whether it is legal or not! “Me and my brothers are moonshiners, bootleggers…” exclaims in a narrative intro by Shia LeBeouf (Disturbia) as Jack Bondurant the youngest of the brood of trouble makers! He further adds that the hills from where they find solace and a place they call home has been a goldmine of sorts to the city below where gangsters like Al Capone and Tommy Malloy. Shia has transcended from his clichéd acting and mannerisms and can really be a force to be reckoned with. Together with his brother Howard Bondurant the middle sibling played by Jason Clarke (Public Enemies) who is starting to get in the business by being proposed on certified box-office hits. His role I believe has been down sized due to bigger stars in his left and right or maybe he was really the quiet type but will follow his brothers until the end!

Hard hitting rising star Tom Hardy (Bronson) as the eldest and seemingly “unbreakable” Forrest Bondurant he has this knack for playing roles in being a tough guy while letting his fists do more of the talking he still finds someone who can melt his heart and for instance this is the reason why Jessica Chastain (The Help) while playing a only supporting role still turn plenty of heads in her presence. Basically two of the women involved were just for eye candy with Mia Masikowska (Alice in Wonderland) who has the same type of mentality with Jessica, getting lucrative and smart films that entice the movie going public without hassling on second-rate performances and this one is nothing of the sort, speaking of which Dale DeHaan (Chronicle) is a certified glue that pieces it all together, I remember Paul Dano perform in “There Will Be Blood” and Matt Damon in “The Rainmaker” and this guy will also go the distance!

Intermittent scenes carried by Gary Oldman (The Professional) who plays trigger happy gangster “Mad Dog” Floyd Banner who seem to be in every bullet riddled blood baths (custom made in cars)! Although not much engaged in the dialogue, instead he lets his Tommy Machine gun do the talking with anyone who gets in his way! On the other hand, one of the most sought out actors for his commendable character performances (just like the guy upstairs), Guy Pearce (Traitor) is Special Deputy Charlie Rakes who responds to this susceptible community! It also goes without mention that with “the long arm of the law” with Rakes lives up to his name in raking profits from these low-life criminals,  underpinning most of their activities and cohorts, the police officer demands all to “share the love” under his undying commitment to “protect and serve”!

The film’s brutal propensity towards “taking care of business” sets a definite tone of territorial coping due to organized crime. Strong points were given to Tom and Dale who were actually the scene stealers here while Shia proves his ability to be an actor can actually be weeded out by giving him diverse roles and not just focus on his hyperactive persona when it comes to comedy.

What can we expect coming from The Weinstein Company, always setting the standard for quality produced films! But not all has its bright side, it was an applaudable attempt but only up to a certain extent seeing that an adapted screenplay that makes the most out of their resourced and origin material belittles actual events that happened. A typical gangster movie which underlies subtlety in terms of its context while having violent overtones that tries to make up for a pedestrian storytelling!


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