MOVIE REVIEW: I’ve had a stack of Blu-rays sitting in my cabinet for a while now, so I finally got to crack open one. “Lawless” stars Shia LaBeouf (Transformers , Fury), Tom Hardy (Inception, Warrior), Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Great Gatsby ), Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3, Memento), Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, The Help), Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland , Jane Eyre ), Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, Kill Your Darlings), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, Léon: The Professional), Chris McGarry (Unthinkable, Across the Universe), and Bill Camp (12 Years a Slave, Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It is directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition). The date is 1931 in Franklin County, Virginia where Prohibition is as rampant as the people struggling to get a drink. Thankfully for these alcoholics, they have the notorious Bondurant brothers known for their hard moonshine. Forrest Bondurant (Hardy), the leader of his brothers, is a soft-spoken man who knows how to get loud when he needs to. Howard Bondurant (Clarke), the oldest, is the brute strength, who keeps people in line for Forrest and doesn’t mind drinking their product along the way. The youngest brother of the trio is Jack (LaBeouf) who is put to the side more often because of how he can’t handle business like his two brothers, but you shouldn’t count him out. He gets his chance to do something when the corrupt District Attorney Mason Wardell, along with his intimidating Special Deputy Charles Rakes (Pearce), roll into town demanding that they get a cut of all of the bootleggers’ earnings. Some comply out of fear, but not the Bondurant brothers. They stand up for their business to gain respect, but it’ll cost them when they have to face off against the corrupt lawmen.
Ah, Prohibition. A dire time in the United States’ history, but out of it came great stories. This film is based on a true story and although it isn’t the greatest film, it is still pretty interesting. While on the topic of the era, my first pro I have for this movie is the setting. I enjoy period piece films because of the different atmosphere that comes along with terrific costuming and a travel back in time to an old way of life. This is evident in this movie, with old Fords rolling by and sodas being drunk only out of glass bottles. The directing really blends in with it as well. It takes a huge chunk of what makes this movie really good besides the story. When it comes to the story though, I will first talk about the characters and acting. The characters really glue this movie together, with spectacular acting to support them. Everyone is different in this film and you can feel for all of them, especially Jack. I enjoyed watching these characters develop on their journey to the big climax and they all offered something great to the table. I must also commend Guy Pearce for a fantastic villain who you just hate. Because of how much I felt for these characters, anything bad that happened to them felt real in their reactions and that is what really sold it for this film in general. These are characters (who were real people) who put their lives on the line not only for money, but for the principle of it. It is what makes the story all the more intriguing. When we talk about the meat of the plot outside of the characters, that is where it can get a little muddled. If you want the short version first, overall the story is very good. It does have its flaws, however. I am not going to count this as a con, but if you don’t care for character development as much as the building to a climax, then you may find this film to be slow. They do trail off to different points of this movie so you can get a better understanding of the characters, mainly Jack. I love character development so I wasn’t bored of this movie at all, but I am saying if you aren’t into this then it may be less of a good experience for you. What my main concern of this movie is a certain story arc that entails that the Bondurant boys are “immortal.” It is interesting, yes, but what comes with it are events that don’t seem realistic. This problem happens more with Forrest than anyone, and there are two things that happen to him that make me frustrated. If it is an aspect that is taken from reality then I don’t know how it can be possible, but for the movie’s sake, it can get ridiculous. I will admit, however, that the ending has a narration that surprises and saddens with this immortal thing attached, so it does work in a way. But it is only at the end. The final issue I have of this film is the nudity. Now, I don’t talk much about this, mostly because of the fact that I feel uncomfortable about it, but there is some nudity in this movie that doesn’t need to be put in. None of it in fact. Any scene with someone naked in it feels basically thrown in and it could just have been better if they had clothes on, which should have been done in this film’s case. At the end of this day, this movie is a very well-put-together one and I enjoyed it. It was serious and cool, with the characters providing a gripping story to watch unfold. I recommend anyone of the appropriate age to give it a try. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: