ReviewWriter: Lorraine TanWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Contraband”, “The Town” and “The Proposition”
"Lawless" turned out to be especially gory with tons of unexpected scenes, which leaves one regretting that heavy dinner one had just before entering the theatres. However, the violence fits in perfectly with the American gangster theme and story, effectively transporting viewers into the film that is based on a true story that took place in 1930s.
Based on the book "The Wettest County In The World" by Matt Bondurant, "Lawless" is directed by John Hillcoat and adapted for screenplay by Nick Cave, both of whom worked together on "The Proposition".
Set during the time of the prohibition in the United States, the film centres on the Bondurant brothers, who make a living selling bootlegged alcohol, or "moonshine" as they call it, to the community living in Franklin County, Virginia, including the cops. Things take a turn for the worse when a corrupt district attorney sends a corrupt and dirty cop to enforce a ban on the sale, leading to a showdown between the Bondurant brothers and their adversaries in an attempt to protect their livelihood.
Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke play Jack, Forrest and Howard, the 3 Bondurant brothers respectively. Jack is the runt of the family, often left out by the brothers in their illegal operations. At first glance, he seems cowardly, but turns out to be an earnest and determined youth. Forrest, the big brother, is physically imposing, drawing respect and fear while being a man of few words. Howard is the drunk of the family, and often bullies Jack.
Charley Rakes, played by Guy Pearce, is the antagonist of the film. He brings a menacing air to the film, playing one his usual villainous roles, a corrupt, sadistic and over-the-top special deputy, who is out to destroy the Bondurant's operations, and will kill anybody in his way.
However, the story takes a backseat to the film's excessive gore and violence. Some of the scenes are gut-wrenching and cringe-worthy, showing the brutality and vengefulness of the characters. This eventually becomes too much, and you will feel that some of the scenes are not needed.
In addition, the set, costumes and vehicles are all beautifully designed and shot, with the picturesque hills and forest providing the perfect backdrop for the film. Further, the film's two females, played by Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, look as if they are prepared for a Vogue fashion shoot.
"Lawless" is a beautiful film, with great acting, but the straightforward plot and violence prevents the film from easily being something great.Cinema Online, 12 November 2012