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Tanya Khoury: Rough but compelling
September 14, 2012
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Just like a squeaky high school teenager I watched the trailer for Lawless and told myself that Tom Hardy was in that, so I must see it! As reality quickly set in, I looked more into the film and found that it is based on a novel by Matt Bondurant: The Wettest Country in the World in fact where he tells the story of his grandfather and granduncles.

The screenplay for the film is adapted by the multitalented Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat. A group of extremely talented people and I have not even started on the actors. So I put my serious face on and went back into the 116 minutes of the prohibition era.

I don’t know why these films are not given a bigger theatre to be displayed in; we were being crammed into the smaller screens whilst Katy Perry’s bizarre 3D film makes into the main theatre! Lawless deserves a bigger audience, it is well crafted adaptation of a true story about the lives of three brothers running a bootlegging business in a time when the ‘law’ is trying to bring order into town. The three brothers are played by Tom Hardy (of course), Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke, all of which are flawless in their performances. Guy Pearce plays Charlie Rakes who is out to stop the brothers; his version of that Crooked Special Deputy is in fact spot on, you dislike him as soon as you set your eyes on that character, the demeanour, the look and the attitude – it was all played very well indeed. In addition to those names, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman and others also star and they, like the rest, fit in like a mould.

The story was a good one. Who doesn’t like a well executed gangster film (the eye candy is always an added bonus)? There is a bit of gore mind you, I didn’t mind that though. The plot follows the brothers as they fend for themselves when Hardy’s character Forrest (the leader of the pack) refuses to give the deputy profits gained from his business. Things naturally begin to go downhill from there.

I admit as much as I enjoyed the Hardy’s screen time, I felt that the build-up throughout the film was a little slow. Other than that, the subplots were all engaging and I didn’t feel like the film was dragging; there is not much to say about the origins of the story as this is based on the lives of real people, Nick Cave’s version may have been a little exaggerated, but it worked to support this sort of genre.

Overall, and even though LeBeouf’s character may have shed a lot of on-screen tears, it was worth it. The film should be your main attraction at the cinema, if you are looking for a good story. The violence comes with that genre so there is no way around that, I’m afraid. This team though is good at working together, as they have hashed out several films in the past, this one is just another success to add to the list. Strong performances all around and from a novel’s perspective a most interesting and intriguing family to be a part of! If you like this genre you will most definitely like the film, a deserved 7.8/10.
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