DVD Review: Lawless
Lawless claims to be based on the “astonishing true story” of the Bondurant brothers, and whilst I’m not going to argue over the details of what may or may not have been true, the history of these boys, as portrayed in the film, plays them as more of a myth or legend. Featuring an odd matching of Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf, Lawless follows the lives of the Bondurant brothers, a family of bootleggers during prohibition era America.
Things are going well for the boys, even the local cops buy there wares off them, but then one day Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (played by a slightly out of kilter Guy Pearce) turns up, and tries to lay down his law – pay him, or get busted.
This is where the meat of the story kicks in, with the Bondurant’s refusing to toe the line and Rakes escalating the whole thing, eventually into all out war.
The story winds it’s ay along at a mixed pace, with some scenes that truly earn the film it’s R18 (violence) rating.
Directed by John Hillcoat (who Directed The Road) Lawless is both beautiful and hopeless, much like The Road, though without the dystopian desolation.
Tom Hardy owns the film with his role as one of the Bondurant brothers, but the younger brother played by Shia Labeouf has a much more interesting character development, beginning as a scared little brother through to becoming the one that saves their operations. It’s great to see Labeouf given a role he can get his teeth into, though it’s a testament to Hardy’s screen presence that given less time infront of the camera, he still manages to command more attention that anyone else.
Lawless is an odd film to rate. It doesn’t quite get to the heights to aims for, and has plenty in it to be off putting for many viewers, but in the end it is a film that is worth watching, if for nothing else than the individual performances.
R18 Contains violence and offensive language.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read