Film Review: LAWLESS
"LAWLESS is rich with captivating performances and a sense of humour that balances out the seriously violent bits." ...Naomi Rossdeutscher
'Boardwalk Empire' has been fabulous for a while now, then there was 'Underbelly Razor,' soon we'll have Baz Luhrmann's version of 'The Great Gatsby' and recently I enjoyed 'Lawless.' The Prohibition era is really getting some heat and I wonder if that will help me get my Prohibition script produced. When researching the era there are things that beg to be in all scripts, but the films are all varied and compelling in their own way. My script is full of music, mystery, romance and of course crime, you could say it's a dash of Gatsby, Boardwalk Empire and The Usual Suspects, but my lead character is a sassy female fighting for freedom and was inspired by Nina Simone's song 'I shall be released.' Maybe you'll get to see it soon... or maybe it will remain locked in the bottom drawer... we'll see.
This American gangster story, based on the book "The Wettest County in the World" by Matt Bondurant, is a fictional account of his paternal grandfather Jack and grand-uncles Forrest and Howard's run for the American Dream during the Prohibition-era, in the mountains of Franklin County, Virginia.
In the beginning, the three bootlegging siblings, known as the infamous Bondurant brothers, are prospering until Franklin County's bootlegging is threatened by the arrival of a lethal and corrupt Special Deputy from Chicago (Guy Pearce), which leads to violent confrontations that escalate to a grand shootout, in true Western/Prohibition style.
There's violence and liquor, romance, comedy and beautiful cinematography. The on screen photography reminded me of a scene in another film of this genre, 'Bonnie and Clyde' and many archival photographs of the time.
I enjoyed this stylish film, except for the opening scene, but only because I'm a mad animal lover. The cast is exceptional, but Tom Hardy's performance was my favourite, he added a likeable, understated depth to his character and a man in a cardigan never looked so good.
Lawless is directed by John Hillcoat, who also directed 'The Road' and 'The Proposition' and the screenplay is written by Nick Cave, along with the musical score.
WHO IS IN IT...
Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman and a few others.
I took a female senior citizen to this film and when I asked her what she thought afterward, she said "I loved it, I just shut my eyes at the more shocking scenes." Funny, 'cause she's probably not classified within the target audience, but I knew she watched every available season of 'Breaking Bad' and is a mad fan of 'Boardwalk Empire' so she's no powdered wallflower when it comes to watching cinema and is great company at the flicks, as long as no one tall sits in front.