Lawless – Quick review

Dir. John Hillcoat
IMDb 7.2/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 67%
Nominated Palm d’Or at 65th Cannes Film Festival


Lawless takes place in Franklin County, Virginia during the Prohibition. We meet the three Bondurant brothers Forrest, Jack, and Howard (Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Clarke), whom are attached to a legend of invincibility. The Bondurant’s are in the moonshine making business, whilst the likes of Al Capone and other gangsters are starting to take over all the businesses across the states. The brothers have no thoughts of losing their business to anyone. A problem arises when new appointed Special Deputy Charley Rakes (Guy Pearce) arrives with a warning that he and the local authorities will shut down their business. The brothers are in over their heads but are willing to break the laws placing them into an unforgiving world of crime.

Lawless is a well-made movie, with an great view of life in Franklin Country in the 1920s. From the horses running in the vast fields that lay besides small winding roads; to southern style city where it seems everyone has a gun. This great setting includes an outstanding cast playing their roles convincingly. Tom Hardy plays the tough “invincible” oldest brother to great effect. Jason Clarke plays Howard the middle child who aids both brothers. Gary Oldman is a notorious gangster in the moonshine business. Jessica Chastain plays as a waitress that’s attracted to the oldest brother Forrest. Dane DeHaan (notably from Place Beyond The Pines) as a family friend with a disability. Guy Pearce gives a strong performance as a ruthless deputy, who has some qualities of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Shia LaBeouf steals the show as the youngest brother coming to age, wanting to show his brother he can handle the business, whilst trying to impress the local preacher’s daughter. It may be the best role I’ve seen him in..

The film did not hesitate to place great emphasis on the violence. I don’t often get uncomfortable when violence occurs, but it gives a realistic feel to the story, which the viewers can understand the revenge the characters take part in. The only problem with the film is its focus; it wrapped certain issues up quickly and never returned. Although it can be easily overlooked as you will be hooked into what’s going to happen next.

I would recommend checking out this film! I put off watching this film ever since its release in theaters and I regret that now. I’m not sure if it’s because I just finished watching it for the first time and the hype hasn’t died down yet, but at the moment I would say it’s in my top 10 of 2012. Let me know what you think of this film if you do watch it or have already.

After coming back to this post, I have lost much interest in the film and bringing it from three stars to two stars

Rating: ★★ / ★★★★★


“It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.”