With a seemingly slow start, Lawless offers what can only be described as the perfect combination of action, violence, comedy and romance.
Tom Hardy (Forrest Bondurant), still with a hint of The Dark Knight Rises‘ Bane about him, maintains his intimidating build and deep lion’s growl in scenes which see him terrorising anyone threatening his liquor bootlegging business in Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia with his two brothers Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Shia LaBeouf).
Guy Pearce, as Special Agent Charlie Rakes, matching the creepiness of Crispin Glover’s ‘Thin Man’ from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (not that I watched it. No Siree. Ahem), keeps the audience on the edge of their seats with the threat of explosive, irrational violence as his ego and, lets face it, his manhood are questioned by the ‘hicks’ we grow to know and love.
Anyone with a love of gangster and western films may initially be disappointed by the lack of action and depth of characters we are introduced to but this soon changes as we see Forrest Bondurant punch a bad guy’s throat in with little effort. Yay, go outlaws!
LaBeouf is his usual playful, timid and endearing self who’s ignorance brings the whole operation down alongside wooing the local Preacher’s daughter, Bertha Minnix (Mia Wasikowska). Taking on the role of the ‘runt of the litter’, he soon becomes a bit aggressive, in a stroppy teenager kind of way and eventually becomes the hero of the story.
Despite being outlaws and a bunch of tough geezers, the audience quickly find themselves behind the threesome as they protect their livelihood and their efforts to woo the local lovelies. I even found myself having a little man crush on Mr Hardy. I think it was the sewn up jugular. Always was a sucker for a bit of gore.
Gary Oldman is featured briefly but brilliantly as mobster and all round cool-dude Floyd Banner, making me love him just a little bit more than I already do.
Now, I’m not one for peer pressure but Lawless is a film that you have to see.
Although I now have picture of you shaking your fists furiously at the screen and saying in your best gangster accents ‘why I outta…’, I shall continue to explain why. Not only does this film have the underdogs doing things they shouldn’t be and sticking it to the man, a little forbidden romance, lots of shoot outs and a nekkid lady (Jessica Chastain as Maggie Beauford), it is all based on a true story. I KNOW!
Based on Matt Bondurant‘s novel ‘The Wettest Country in the World‘, written about his grandfather and great uncles’s antics, Lawless successfully throws us back into a world in which racial integration was a mere twinkle in Uncle Sam’s eye, couples ‘courted’ and superheros didn’t have to have laser vision or flashy outfits to beat the bad guys.
GO AND SEE IT you yellow bellied son of a gun!
Ok, I’ll stop.