Review: Lawless

A gritty, intense but reliably predictable gangster thriller that’s loaded with good performances.

Lawless is set in the early 1930 in Virginia during the depression, where three brothers run a dangerous trade of “moonshine”, alcohol made by the people for the people in a time where alcohol was restricted. When their legendary fame of being “indestructible” gives them fame, they get the attention of a corrupt Deputy from Chicago and the local gangland.

The performances are what’s on display in this movie. Naturally Tom Hardy plays the role with absolute integrity and intensity, while having some great moments of comedic reluctance as the older brother Forest. Yes, Shia LeBeouf is in this film, and he does excellently well as the youngest and most timid brother Jack.
Gary Oldman has a bit-part, but his few scenes are excellent, while Guy Pearce is positively reptilian as the merciless big city law enforcer, a great villain (albeit transparently so).

The film isn’t that groundbreaking outside of its excellent performances, it has familiar story beats and character arcs, but it does have some shocker moments and humour to jolt you out of your comfort zone. It felt like it dragged towards the end of the first act, but it quickly ramps up again  as pressure from all sides is placed on the brothers.

I’m glad I went to see it, it is certainly worth your time if you like thrillers, dramas, western and 1930s-1940s style films.

Additional Marshmallows: Tom Hardy’s character Forest was meant to be quite slim, but having been filming The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy had to bulk up for the part of Bane.

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