Lawless Film Review
You always want what you can’t have, so the trick is to find the product that fits that line for a big demographic and capitalize on it. When prohibition hit, alcohol was liquid gold, and savvy young gents like the Bondurants made a living off of it. John Hillcoat’s Lawless tells the story of Forrest, Howard and Jack Bondurant, brothers with a reputation of invincibility, as they go up against a heinous special deputy named Charlie Rakes.
John Hillcoat, director of such gems as the Road and the Proposition, uses his skills to weave a store of crime and the savage nature of men on both sides of the law. Then highlight of the film is the tension, as Hillcoat is quite masterful at making the edge of your seat feel razor sharp. The film feels authentic in mood and design, and the bloody confrontations are a treat at a gladiator type of level.
The Bondurant brothers, played by Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke, all shine in their own ways. LaBeouf plays Jack, the youngest of the Bondurants and the one that doesn’t quite fit the violent, brutish reputation of his last name. Initially having an innocent nature, and fumbling on the job more than once, LaBeouf’s Jack evolves to become the brains that the brawny brothers really need. Tom Hardy, playing Forrest Bondurant, is a beast of a man with his piercing eyes and grizzly mannerisms, he convinces the audience that he’s truly invincible. Hardy is such a presence onscreen that you can sometimes feel his co-stars sizzle when he enters the room. Last and certainly not least, there’s Guy Pearce playing Charlie Rakes, a immaculate special deputy that is strictly out to wipe away crime by any means necessary. Pearce is menacing and sick, making for a luscious villain that the audience can’t help but root against.
Lawless contains great performances all around, and is a terrific addition to the crime/gangster genre, even if it doesn’t break any new ground.
Gary Oldman is underused. Oldman is coming off of his first Oscar nomination, and all he gets in this film is about 5 minutes of screentime. Really? He is severely underused, and is pretty much just in the film to draw more viewers.
The violence in the film is rich and tension-filled, but for some it may just be too much. The violence in the film also may get repetitive to some because of the abundance of it. The story is a bit flat and generic, and in the back of your mind you feel the film’s story could’ve been improved somehow to elevate the film.
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