August 28, 2012
Prohibition, gangsters, brothers, Virginia, moonshine, a sadistic lawman, violence, lust, love and family…That’s some of the things you’ll find in ‘Lawless’ directed by John Hillcoat (‘The Road’) and written by songwriter/musician, Nick Cave (The Proposition), based on Matt Bondurant’s book ‘The Wettest County in the World’, a fictionalized account of his family.
The film tells the story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers, Forrest, (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and the youngest sibling, Jack (Shia LaBeouf) who made and sold moonshine in the 30’s. They lived in the mountains of Franklin County and were as different as brothers could be.
Jack, the ambitious one, dreams of expensive suits, fast cars, and getting it on with the very pretty and very religious, Bertha (Mia Wasikowka).
His bro, Howard, who survived the Great War, is the more laid back of the three, while Forrest, who nearly died of the Spanish Flu, is known far and wide as being immortal. He’s also a guy you don’t want to mess with.
Times are tough and jobs are scarce in these parts, but the Bondurants are entrepreneurs and have built a thriving business by concocting an intense and popular brand of moonshine.
But Franklin County’s bootlegging days are about to end, with the arrival of Special Deputy, Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) from Chicago.
Rakes is a vicious, sadistic dude with a bad hairdo. He’s determined to bring law to this lawless place, no matter what he has to do…Translation…He’ll kill, maim, torture anyone who gets in his way.
And the Bondorants, who bow down to no one, are not about to let this power hungry, sexually conflicted jerk, mess with their way of life.
‘Lawless’ is a beautifully shot, edgy, exciting, violent, touching portrait of a time in our history when gangsters ruled the city streets, and outlaws were the stuff legends were made of.
Everyone in the cast was excellent, with Tom Hardy being the standout. He created such an interesting, complex character…A man filled with rage but at the same time, had an equally intense vulnerability. This was especially apparent in his scenes with Jessica Chastain, who played, Maggie, an emotionally wounded burlesque dancer.
Also worth mentioning is Gary Oldman as gangster, Floyd Banner, who is both a friend and foe to the Bondurants. Even though he appears in the film sporatically, Oldman’s presence is felt throughout.
‘Lawless’ which opens in theatres, Wednesday August 29, 2012, received 4 1/2 bagels out of 5. I absolutely loved everything about it and John actually liked it as well.
Check out our video to see more of our thoughts and watch me try and convince John that his bagel rating needs some adjustment.