Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another blog post, today I bring you another review in form of the gangster film, Lawless.
When I saw this trailer for this film I was immediately interested mainly due to its similarities to Boardwalk Empire, a TV series I love immensely. Lawless seemed to embody the same kind of look and feel of that TV show, but it also looked like it had an interesting story tell and the cast alone had my attention immediately. So then I went to see the film on Monday this week and it was pretty darn good and going to tell you why in this review.
So story wise it goes a little something like this: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang (in the form Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) is threatened by a new deputy (Guy Pearce) and other authorities who want a cut of their profits.
The story in Lawless is really good and I enjoyed it a lot. I felt like it provided a story, set in an interesting point in time and felt like an accurate portrayal of the events that took place in that era. There’s a lot of good stuff to expect form a film set in the Prohibition-era like drama, crime, violence, alcohol and all those dodgy dealings that go on in the background. I also like the way it develops for the characters involved and see how they gradually change over the course oft he film. The pace of the story is bit slow for those who like these kinds of films with a bit more action, but if you give it a chance and get into it then the story is an entertaining one.
When it comes to the characters of Lawless the cast do a tremendous job with their roles. Shia LaBeouf as Jack Bondurant was really good, I was impressed with LaBeouf, he has some acting chops and I was glad to see he can actually act. The story of Lawless really centers around Jack and his journey throughout the film and liked that aspect. Tom Hardy as Forrest Bondurant was absolutely awesome as Forrest he is the hardest of the three brothers and the quietest too. Hardy’s character is very relaxed all the time, doesn’t really say much and some times only responses to things with a slight groan haha. His character is as funny as he is brutal and I loved it. And Jason Clarke as Howard Bondurant. I think that LaBeouf, Hardy and Clarke function well as brothers, they have some great chemistry on-screen and really seem to have that brotherly bond done pretty well.
And then there’s Guy Pearce as Special Agent Charlie Rakes, he was some kind of beast of man! He was this cold, merciless and evil member of the government that wanted to shut down the illegal moonshine operations in Virgina and Pearce played his part really well. Guy Pearce’s character is such a bastard in this film and you really hate him because of all of the cruel and unforgivable things he does, but as I said before Pearce plays his part really well. Also Gary Oldman as Floyd Banner was awesome in the film (like he is always) and while he wasn’t in the film as much as I thought he would be, when he does have his screen time his presence is magnetic. Mia Wasikowska as Bertha Minnix was interesting, I wasn’t expecting to like Wasikowska that much because I really didn’t like her in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, but in this film she was tolerable and actually quite nice. Jessica Chastain as Maggie Beauford was really good, I remembered Chastain from her work in The Help and I loved her in that film and was glad to see her deliver another solid performance in this film too. And lastly I wanted to give a shout out to Dane Dehaan as Cricket Pane, I really liked his character in the film, Dehaan and LaBeouf worked well together and I’m glad to see Dehaan continuing to be in films after his great performance in Chronicle.
The presentation of Lawless is great, the film is well-shot and has some nicely executed action scenes with gunfire and things of that nature. Also another thing to note is that Lawless is pretty brutal and violent, I almost forgot the kind of film that I was watching until the fight scenes came around, whether it be the Bondurant brothers dishing out the pain or Charlie Rakes wasting somebody because he felt like it, there is some violent damage dishes out and it is very visual, but I love the film for going that extra mile when it comes to realism. The soundtrack for Lawless is pretty good too, not overly memorable, but there are some nice tunes here and there.
I also think another reason I liked this film so much would be because of its direction, I didn’t know until today that John Hillcoat who directed The Road, which was one my favourite films I saw in the cinema in 2010. I get that same vibe of drama, emotion and engaging characters in this film as I did with The Road. Though Lawless isn’t perfect, it is a slower-paced film and it is one that builds up to the action rather than just throwing it out there for the sake of it. For me I was really expecting something in the same vain as Boardwalk Empire and while Lawless is impressive, it just doesn’t reach the that level of epicness I thought it would have.
In conclusion Lawless is a great film, it has a story that’s engaging and interesting from start to finish and its full of drama, character development and brutal action scenes. While the film isn’t as good as it could have been and falls short of the epic mark it could have achieved, Lawless is still the best film I’ve seen in the cinema since The Dark Knight Rises and that’s saying something.
Well that’s been my review, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading it and drop me a comment and let me know what you made of the film. Until the next time people, laters! 😀