Previously titled The Wettest Country In the World, Lawless is the new film from director John Hillcoat – the man who kicked my emotions in the groin with The Road and made me love every single torturous second of it – and it looks like a doozy. Boasting a cast that makes me wet my pants in anticipation, this long-delayed true story of Prohibition Era bootlegging is finally being released. And it looks fantastic.
Tom Hardy, Shia Lebouf and Gary Oldman all seem to be bringing their A-game (I don’t actually think that Hardy and Oldman has any other game, truth be told), while Guy Pearce and might as well be biting the houses with all the scenery chewing he’s doing. Throw in Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain (who is clearly trying to star in all the movies), as well as a script by Nick Cave, of The Bad Seeds fame and the same writer on Hillcoat’s equally emotionally punishing The Proposition, and it’s easy to see why I think that this could just be the dark horse of the 2012 best film race.
While many will be pointing to Shia as the weak link in this insane chain of talent, I actually feel that he gets a bit of an unfair stick. The guy is a fairly skilled actor, who showed a tonne of promise in his younger days, but then unfortunately just kept on being typecast as the male version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I’ve always felt that he just needs something a bit heftier to truly find his range again, and I doubt it’s going to get more heftier than this.
Gangster meets Western in “Lawless,” the true story of the freewheelin’ Bondurants brothers, bootlegging siblings taking the law into their own hands. This is the story of the rural hard-men that created the big city gangsters. Brazen and fearless, these young rebel brothers helped build the American Dream in this exuberant tale of what was to become crime’s first major gold rush.
The youngest brother, Jack, fancies himself the next Al Capone; he dreams of sharp suits, guns, girls and fast cars, no matter the cost. Ambitious and impulsive, he takes the family’s small-scale moonshining operation to the big leagues, to impress the gorgeous but off-limits Amish girl, Bertha. The middle brother, Howard, is the brawling muscle – loyal but reckless – never one to turn down a taste of white lightning. And eldest brother, Forrest, reluctantly accepts the changing times with grace and grit, leading the family with strength of character and silent determination against the beginnings of corporate greed. An enigmatic and stunning Maggie comes to town with a hidden past, igniting his passion and almost saving him in the process. As the Bondurants’ legend grows, so too does the danger, and it’s not long before the brothers must face the consequences of their transgressions, or rewrite the myth and the law themselves.
PS: Bonus fact – Matt Bondurant, who wrote the original book upon which this is based is the real life grandson and grand-nephew of Hardy and Lebouf’s characters.
Last Updated: April 25, 2012