|Directed by:||John Hillcoat|
|Written by:||Nick Cave|
|Cast:||Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Goldman, Guy Pearce, Shia LaBeouf, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Jason Clarke, Lew Temple, Dane DeHaan|
|Studio:||The Weinstein Company|
With a historic setting and a bloody bite to boot, "Lawless" is the kind of film that brings you in and immerses you in its authenticity and dynamic performances while riveting you in its brutal crimson-ness. While I originally had no reason to give this film a shot, with its stellar cast how could I not, right?
Based on the best-selling book called "The Wettest County in the World," This feature does a fantastic job with its source material. From the vast forested areas of the south to the dirty and tumble streets that travel through them, not to mention the clothes, and southern dried languages, this film looks and feels like the era its portraying. The violence is rough and tumble, while the unflinching nature of it could stand up with most horror choices.and adds oomph to this proverbial history lesson. So kudos for that.
But I admit its all about the performances on this bad boy, and this cast is sensational. Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman and "The Beef" himself, Shia LaBeouf all gave great showings here. I have to note that Oldman is not in this film that often so if any of you came to see him specifically, you will be disappointed.
The leads of the pack here are unsurprisingly Hardy and Pearce, but surprisingly LaBeouf as well. I keep forgetting that if you get LaBeef away from anything "Transformers" related, the thespian can emerge instead of speed-freak yammering imbecile teen. (See The Guide to Recognizing your Saints, Disturbia, Eagle Eye, and Wall Street 2 for proof of this statement.) Here he plays the youngest of the Bondurant brothers, Jack, exactly the way it should be played; Ambitious, gullible, yet able to convey a young man coming into this violent world with some credibility. So kudos to Shia for this one.
And Hardy and Pearce? Well in lament terms they made this film what it is as their sensational performances as Forrest Bondurant; the quietly deep-drawled and honorable yet dangerous oldest of the brothers AND the sadistic special deputy Charley Rakes. Any time either of these guys were on the screen I couldn't take my eyes off of them. Without them, this film probably wouldn't have been as good as it was. Oh and how glad was I that Pearce got a ROLE in this movie that he can sink his teeth into. Earlier this year he was barely featured in "Prometheus" (definitely one of the many drawbacks of THAT disappointment.) and I'm not even going to talk about "Lockout." Come on Hollywood! This man can deliver gold, and if you LET HIM, you will get stuff like this. Just sayin.
Bottom Line, "Lawless" was another surprise this year that I thoroughly enjoyed. This flick has a little bit of everything for what ails ya and keeps what you need right in the forefront. Come for the authentic setting and the violence, stay for the great performances and a reminder that Shia has range, Hardy's still cool, and Pearce is one of the most gifted in the biz today. OH and the moonshine too. Can't forget that.