Opening in theatres this Friday from director John Hillcoat, writer Nick Cave and the Weinstein Company comes a look back in time when life could be LAWLESS.
This film tells the story of Bondurant’s led by Forrest (Tom Hardy) who leads his two brothers Howard (Jason Clarke) and youngest Jack (Shia LaBeouf) during prohibition. In the mountains of Franklin County, Virginia, the Bondurant’s are the leaders in moonshining where even the law looks the other way.
That is until Special Agent Charles Rakes (Guy Pearce) comes to town and demands that each still pay him to look the other way. Forrest isn’t about to have it and plainly states so setting Rakes into motion with violence to follow.
When Forrest is attacked, Jack takes a stand for his brothers along with his friend Cricket (Dane DeHaan) and deals with Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman), who wants to prove his loyalty to the Bondurant’s. Jack also begins to fall for the preachers’ daughter Bertha (Mia Wasikowska). But he’s not the only brother falling hard as Forrest is taken with drifter Maggie (Jessica Chastain).
But there can be no easy life or walking away until the scores are settled!
FINAL WORD: Hardy and LaBeouf are both the leading men of this film in equal stature but for different reasons obviously. Lets begin with Hardy – this is a stellar performance from an actor that always seems to be low key. Yes, his role as Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT was fine but this, this is amazing. Playing the role of the immortal Forrest has a quiet stillness in the midst of madness – and when he says “uh-huh” you know things are about to go down.
LaBeouf has taken this role with a harsh bite and brushed away any metallic remnants of TRANSFORMERS. In this role audiences get to watch him transform from a shy and sensitive boy to a man who begins to see how his world works. I had no trouble whatsoever believing his performance. Through his mistakes – family is always his motivation looking up to Hardy’s big brother character.
Chastain as Maggie is not a big role, it is not a very talkative role but when she’s on the screen you pay attention. It is what she doesn’t say that holds her character tightly into the storyline. Once again a brilliant performance.
Wasikowska as Bertha the preacher’s daughter is a character that meshes well with LaBeouf’s love-stricken Jack. She has moments of sassiness that lets you know that the preacher’s daughter does have a soft spot for bad boys. Her plainness of manner and dress just add to her performance here.
Oldman as tough guys Banner is a straight shooter (sorry about the pun). From the moment he holds a Tommy gun to settling scores this actor will always have my attention and respect. DeHaan as Cricket is endearing, smart, funny and the sweetest character in the film and I’m leaving it at that.
Pearce as Special Agent Rakes is twisted, grotesque, bitter, angry, a masochist and just about every loathsome name you can imagine for a crooked law enforcement officer! He has managed to round out his career with a character that enrages.
This is a true story based on the novel by Matt Bondurant “The Wettest County in the World” as he tells the story of his grandfather and granduncles. He doesn’t cover up the ill-gotten gains nor the ways in which they handled those who tried to handle them!
Other cast include: Noah Taylor as Gummy Walsh, Lew Temple as Abshire, Bill Camp as Sheriff Hodges, Bruce McKinnon as Jimmy Turner, Chris McGarry as Danny, Toni Bryd as Ida Belle and Alex Van as Tizwell.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give LAWLESS four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. The cinematography is beautiful, the music score is stellar, and the acting is some of the finest. The storyline is drive with grit; intensity and blood so keep that in mind when heading out to the theatre.
This straightforward film has always been the reason I’ve gone to the movies. Give it to me straight and don’t hold anything back – that’s exactly what direct Hillcoat has done with this film.
In the end – when the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes!