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Lawless Review

Written by Alexander Tucker   // 09/02/2012

Lawless Movie Poster Lawless Review

Going into Lawless having read “The Wettest County in the World” and hearing that it was based loosely on the book I was not sure what to think. The book was amazing. The deviations from the book were done well and stuck to through the whole movie so it was not blaringly obvious.

Within the first five minutes of “Lawless” the story really started to get moving. Character development went along as the movie progressed which many times does not work, other times it does. In this instance it worked well. The Bondurant brothers stuck together through thick and thin. Even though in “Lawless” there were not a lot of issues with the each other. They were three brothers trying to make a better life for each other. Yeah, so it was a life of illegal booze but, it was their life. Lawless captured the bond between the brothers and showed how once they let you into the family you were as good as blood to them. You just have to ask Maggie and Cricket.Lawless Movie Review, Tom Hardy

Forrest who was played by Tom Hardy was the silent leader of the family. Although, from seeing interviews with Hardy I can readily admit that he does talk more than I thought he would. Sure he had his grunts and so forth but, very true to the way men were back then he was a man of few words. Forrest was intimidating. The character that you never really could tell what he was thinking. One moment he would appear to be as serene as anyone could be and then in a flash someone was being punched with his brass knuckles. Forrest was a legend in town, a man that no one wanted to trifle with. Tom got the privilege of delivering the most memorable lines of Lawless.

Shia LaBeouf who played Jack Bondurant did a decent job. Being slightly apprehensive of him playing the character I was surprised. Although there were some parts of Lawless where he did seem more forced that anything else. For instance when Cricket died his reaction to his best friend dying was underwhelming to say the least. All in all Jack was played okay. One thing that was captured very well was how different he was from his brothers Forrest and Howard even if that was not what he wanted. The movie was told from Jack’s point of view so narration was also done by Shia.

Guy Pearce, as Charlie Rakes was brilliant. He walked on screen and within a minute you detested him. He was the detective that was brought in to clean up Franklin County. The county ended up being more of a mess than it was before he came in but, every movie needs the bad guy right? Really truly it was completely believable that he was this despicable human.

I hate to refer to the supporting cast as supporting because they were just as important to the movie and the top billed three. Jessica Chastain as Maggie was wonderful. She seemed cold and you did not learn much about her but, that was the way that character was. Jason Clarke as Howard was great. He played the loose cannon, bull in a china shop character so well it was completely believable. Mia Wasikowska as Bertha was remarkable. She was excellent as that shy innocent girl. I thought that maybe some more could have been done with her character than was actually done. Movies can only be so long though.

My biggest complaint about Lawless really was just accents. This is Virginia we are talking about after all. The accent is very distinctive if you are not from that area just as distinctive as a British accent. Tom and Shia to me had very odd accents. It was a cross between southern and I do not even know what else. Yes, there was violence. Lawless is after all about bootlegging during prohibition and the law enforcement and government coming in and trying to take a cut. Was some of it pretty hard to watch? Yes, though excessive was not the word for it. Well, maybe the tar was excessive.

All in all Lawless was a good movie. Each person played their character well. The ending was rushed, but after the big gunfight I guess they wanted to send everyone on their way. This was where a big deviation comes in. There were two love stories in this movie. There was Forrest and Maggie who had a very nontraditional love story. Then Jack and Bertha’s love story which seemed so storybook. You got to watch Jack trying to court Bertha although; this was where Lawless fell short for me. Their story was a very punctuated love story. Forrest and Maggie, well you could tell they cared for each other. The way them being married was thrust on you was, well, very similar I would guess to how the Bondurant family found out they were married.


Directed by: John Hillcoat

Screenplay by: Nick Cave

Based on novel by: Matt Bondurant

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce

Lawless Trailer:


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