Violence and Illegalities – ‘Lawless’ Review

Lawless opened in cinemas last month and I finally got the chance to see it last week, and I gotta say I wasn’t disappointed.

The movie is based on Matt Bondurant’s novel The Wettest County in the World, which is based on the true story of his ancestors, the ‘Bondurant Boys’ who during the prohibition period used to run liquor in Franklin county and because notorious for their violence and law-breaking ways. Forrest, Howard and Jack Bondurant (played by Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke and Shia LaBeouf respectively) take on Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) as he aims to bring them down. The movie is like a cat and mouse game, with gains and losses on both sides, but add in to it is violence, male macho and a hint of romance.

This film is certainly not for the faint hearted –it hasn’t got an 18 certificate (the highest rating) here in the UK for no reason; some moments are gory and just plain awful. However, if you look past the violent nature of the movie, it is a great gangster film with a great cast. Tom Hardy does a brilliant job as hard man Forrest – a man that, within the first 10 minutes of the movie, you find that he shouldn’t be messed with. As well as his leadership within the three brothers, his character has a habit in getting into near-death situations and surviving them (particularly one heart-stopping moment relating back into the ‘plain awful’ category). I particularly enjoyed Hardy’s added mannerisms to his character – his ability to be sarcastic and his clearing of his throat got laughs in a film that doesn’t have a lot of light-hearted moments. Jessica Chastain character is his romantic interest in the film and Chastain looks visually beautiful on screen. She portrays her character with poise throughout, even when her character is broken.

Shia LeBeauf’s character for me was a little difficult to warm too although you ultimately feel sorry for him for the first half of the movie because he is the runt of the three brothers – he isn’t as tough and certainly isn’t as strong as them. The movie is as much about his progression from a boy to a man (or an outlaw of a man) and the ending certainly brings him to the end of that journey. Guy Pearce may be my highlight of the movie – his portrayal of Special Deputy Raves makes you instantly hate his character from the moment he enters on screen.  He’s slick and quite positively slime personified.

Overall I enjoyed this movie, it has a great cast and I really enjoyed the music choices for the movie – it added to the overall tone and feel of the movie. It can also certainly be said that Tom Hardy looks great in a good cardigan!


“I’m a Bondurant. We don’t lay down for nobody” (Forrest Bondurant, Lawless)


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