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They were brothers who became outlaws, and outlaws who became heroes... The three Bondurant boys (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke), along with their sultry new hire (Jessica Chastain), command the most lucrative bootlegging operation in Franklin County, Virginia. The locals consider them “indestructible.” But the law—in the form of a corrupt special deputy (Guy Pearce)—wants a cut of their action, at any cost. When youngest brother Jack (LaBeouf) gets a taste of power with a deadly gangster (Gary Oldman) the whole business blows sky high. Based on the astonishing true story, the Bondurant brotherhood is the stuff of legend.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 201
- Fresh: 135
- Rotten: 66
- Average Rating: 6.5/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: With a dynamite cast, an iconic screenwriter in rocker Nick Cave and an Aussie director in John Hillcoat, you assume a new classic. What you get is an ambitious try.
Fresh: Much of the action may be nearly as grim as in director John Hillcoat's previous feature, "The Road" - "Lawless" is very bloody - but the scenery and production design are a whole lot nicer.
Fresh: You can sense the filth, and smell the rust, and feel the ingrained poverty that might well convince a family of survivors (of World War I and the Spanish flu) to make their fortune selling moonshine to their neighbors.
Fresh: It's slight and casual to the point of laziness, but it's straight fun, done with knowledge and a laconic pleasure. You could do far worse.
A VISCERAL, VIOLENT CRIME DRAMA
"Lawless" may just be one of the best cinematic surprises I've experienced all year. It's a beautifully filmed, powerfully acted period piece full of top-notch performances, atmospheric tension, and gut-wrenching violence. It also boasts an uncommonly smart script that entertains from beginning to end. The film is based on the true story of the Bondurant brothers: an infamous trio of bootlegging siblings who make a run for the American Dream by selling moonshine in Prohibition-era Virginia. Pretty soon, their business is threatened both by rival hooch-makers and corrupt cops who want a cut of their profits. When they refuse, a grisly wave of violence ensues. What really makes this movie stand out from every other recent crime drama is its cast. Shia LaBeouf is at his very best here, delivering an uncommonly genuine performance as the main character, Jack. He really commits to his performance in every scene, and it's quite refreshing to see him take a role seriously for once instead of just maniacally running around all over the place in those "Transformers" movies. Tom Hardy also does a brilliant job playing the oldest Bondurant brother, Forrest. His character is almost like the protagonist version of Bane if he lived during the Prohibition era. Just try and wrap your head around that description if you can. The rest of the cast - Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska - is just as impressive, but it's Guy Pearce's amazing turn as the main villain, Charley Rakes, that truly deserves major props. Everything from his menacing accent to the way he calmly wipes the blood from his hands after a fist fight is nothing short of chilling. It's by far one of the single best performances I've seen in any movie this year. The acting, the cinematography, the style and presentation. Just about everything this film delivered was well-executed, richly detailed, and utterly realistic. My only slight concerns were the uneven pacing and meandering direction of the story, but thankfully, that didn't get in the way of me fully enjoying this epic crime drama. If you get the chance, I suggest watching "Lawless". For any fan of gruesome violence and top-notch acting, it's a must-see.
Lawless is Flawless
I was dragged into this movie without knowing a single detail about it. I will never regret watching it either. Violence and gore are distributed perfectly throughout this movie. Nothing seems out of place. The ending was perfect for me. Shia Lebouf give a great performance for once in his career. Tom Hardy is convincing as southerner even though he is British. The cast was perfect Guy Pierce and Gary Oldman were perfect. This movie was amazing.
Great film: an excellent gritty, bloody, and well acted drama
This movie took my by surprise. First off, I've never been a Shia Lebeouf fan, but he does great in this movie. Tom Hardy steals the movie with his quiet and tough-as-nails demeanor. He completely comes across as a southern man even though he's not even American. Guy Pearce makes you hate his guts, but with his portrayal of brutality and his eccentricities he's a very interesting and memorable character. The violence is pretty extreme, but not excessive…it is dialed up but only when it needs to be. It's a bloody film, but the story is stronger than almost any drama I've seen in recent past. Do yourself a favor and watch this film.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2012
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