Lawless

Lawless

Set in the 1920s prohibition era America Lawless is the true story of the Bondurant brothers. Brazen and fearless, these young rural bootleggers became legendary criminals. The youngest brother, Jack, is ambitious and impulsive, the middle brother, Howard, is loyal but reckless and eldest brother, Forrest, leads the family with a silent determination. As the Bondurants’ illicit business and legend grows, so too looms the danger of bigger fish, and it’s not long before the brothers must face the consequences. 2.3 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
Lawless

Omniscore:

Certificate 18
Genre Drama, Thriller, Western
Director John Hillcoat
Cast Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
Studio Momentum Pictures
Release Date September 2012
Running Time 116 mins
 

Set in the 1920s prohibition era America Lawless is the true story of the Bondurant brothers. Brazen and fearless, these young rural bootleggers became legendary criminals. The youngest brother, Jack, is ambitious and impulsive, the middle brother, Howard, is loyal but reckless and eldest brother, Forrest, leads the family with a silent determination. As the Bondurants’ illicit business and legend grows, so too looms the danger of bigger fish, and it’s not long before the brothers must face the consequences.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

Ian Nathan

The filmmakers can’t decide whether to print the well-oiled legend or the coarse-grained truth. Rooting around for something substantive to say about both the Bondurants’ slippery place in history and the rat-a-tat-tat indulgences of the genre, Lawless sells us half-strength moonshine.

04/09/2012

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The Evening Standard

Charlotte O'Sullivan

Compare it to period shockers like Bonnie and Clyde or McCabe & Mrs Miller and you realise what’s missing. For a movie called Lawless, this one’s awful happy to stick to the rules.

07/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

David Gritten

The running joke about Forrest is that he’s indestructible, and Hardy portrays him with a subtle sense of fun. When he speaks at all, it’s indistinctly; mostly he emits low, animal grunts with meanings that require guesswork. He also favours a baggy, earth-toned cardigan: it’s ghastly, yet implausibly renders him even more endearing.

06/09/2012

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

There’s little in Lawless ... to upset a romantic vision of the Bondurants. That’s surely because Cave’s script is based on a 2008 novel, ‘The Wettest County in the World’, by Matt Bondurant, grandson of one of the brothers. Hillcoat and Cave tell this tale from a perspective of blind fondness – like relatives eulogising their ancestors around the fireplace. It makes for an oddly comfy film considering the death and hurt at its core.

05/09/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

Hillcoat’s sense of period detail is good, as is his choice of cinematography, not surprising from the director of The Road. Lawless is an atmospheric piece, but one we’ve seen a dozen times before. The fine cast is let down by a paint-by-numbers script written by the musician and novelist Nick Cave, and based on a true account of the Bondurant brothers. Cave’s dialogue is clunky and embarrassing and the story lacks a moral compass, perhaps due to Cave’s sentimental fondness for the brothers, his three bad seeds.

07/09/2012

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Total Film

Jane Crowther

While this is ostensibly Jack’s story, the grit and dramatic thrills lie with the brooding power players: Hardy, Gary Oldman’s underused kingpin, Pearce’s deliciously chilling creep. LaBeouf may do well to bury memories of robots with a decent take on puppyish ambition, but it’s the smaller moments from the big boys that truly register in a film where surprises are delivered by performance, not by a plot which, although based on a real family, is as well-worn as Jack’s tatty boots.

31/08/2012

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

The actors’ accents, mainly Southern mumbles, are laboriously mannered, and the willingness of beautiful women such as Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska to hang around with the thuggish siblings is hard to take. The eventful story and the rich soundtrack kept me happily engaged, but — quite unlike the brothers’ hooch — the film has no lingering aftereffects at all.

09/09/2012

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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

Each actor takes a different approach to the demands of a tricky regional accent, which stretches the already thin credibility of the idea that they might be kin. Mr. Clarke does a bit of howling but not much chatting. Mr. LaBeouf, as is his custom, runs his mouth in as many directions as possible, while Mr. Hardy mostly grunts, growls and ribbits, occasionally interrupting his angry bullfrog impersonation to deliver down-home bromides that make him sound like Toby Keith choking on a Cheeto.

28/08/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

This print-the-legend take on the real-life exploits of a family of bootleggers in 1930s Virginia is a mass of clichés, deadening violence and unconvincing performances. A beefed-up Shia LaBeouf is the worst offender in this last respect ... the Transformers star’s wavering accent, together with the Bugsy Malone level of gravitas he brings to proceedings, makes for a laughable combination as he tries to hang tough in period backwoods gangster wear.

06/09/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Forrest and Jack somehow manage to attract the admiration of two beautiful women, played by Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, who shimmer onto the screen turned out as if for a Vogue fashion shoot. The violence is gruesome, and perpetual, but the whole thing leaves nothing behind but a moonshine hangover.

06/09/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

Nick Cave's script lurches rather than flows, and in the character of Guy Pearce's lawman, a prissy, whey-faced sadist named Rakes, it's pure grotesque, like something out of Tim Burton.

07/09/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

More than a little indebted to Bonnie and Clyde, it's a slow, painterly movie with sudden, sustained outbursts of violence. Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us and John Sayles's Matewan are much better and more authoritative in their treatment of crime and social conflict in this particular milieu in the 1920s and 30s.

09/09/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Tim Walker

Gary Oldman's mobster cameo dribbles away like spilled moonshine, and at the centre of the film is Shia LaBeouf as Jack: the scrappy but soft youngest Bondurant, who matures into his family's violent vocation. Jack is the Michael Corleone role, but LaBeouf is obnoxious when he ought to be captivating, and Lawless is predictable when it ought to be startling.

09/09/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Robert Abele

Pearce's gloved, pomaded and snarling entrance instantly signals a movie divorced from reality, despite the fact that it's based on Matt Bondurant's fictionalized account of his real-life moonshining ancestors, "The Wettest County in the World." Lawless is fueled instead by empty mythmaking, and escalating levels of meanness and retribution. In the screenplay written by Nick Cave, Rakes is a scale-tipping cheat designed to put viewers instantly on the side of law-breaking toughs, their code of honor as corny as the region's whiskey. The brothers, though, seem more like actors sharing top billing than actual blood relations.

28/08/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

It begs to be considered in the same light as Bonnie And Clyde, but it’s nowhere near as much fun and has nothing to say about the clash between puritanical Prohibition and amoral free enterprise. Mainly, it’s just an excuse for a lot of vacuous, macho strutting.

07/09/2012

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

So transparent it verges on the comic.

06/09/2012

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