A story about three brothers that are determined to defy the odds and over-come the government’s ambush against their livelihood of distilling and running alcohol. The invincible Forrest (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke), and Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) ran a profitable moon shinning business in the southern mountains of Virginia, that everyone secretly enjoyed, even the local law enforcement officers including Sheriff Hodges (Bill Camp).
In 1931 Franklin County Virginia, while prohibition was coming to an end and moon shinning was the biggest industry in Virginia, the government was determined to finally reach all parts of the United States and end bootlegging of alcohol in all of its boundaries. With help from a state governmental lawyer, Mason Wardell (Tim Tolin) was able to bring Special Agent Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) from Chicago, Illinois to come and clean up his state of Virginia. With his new promotion, Agent Rakes was able to get reluctant help from the local law enforcement and begin his vicious reign of terror over the people of Franklin County.
After the mob moves to Virginia and become more involved in the alcohol distribution, the government stronghold on prohibition becomes more evident in the Franklin County area. With the help from notorious gangster and mob leader Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman), Jack is finally able to prove to his brothers that he can be apart of the business and help them become even more profitable then they were before. Along with a close family friend Cricket Pate (Dane DeHaan), he and Jack are able to build one of the largest distilleries known in the United States and hide if from the law using some unique ideas that Cricket developed.
Forrest has his hands full with Agent Rakes, but with the help from Maggie (Jessica Chastain) a showgirl from Chicago helping him with his private restaurant and his brothers they might just be able to defend themselves against the police. As things come to a boil, Jake falls in love with Bertha Minnix (Mia Wasikowska), a local preachers daughter whose father does not like that he and his brothers are moon shiners. As prohibition is coming to an end (1920 to 1933) and the battle starts to heat up, the brothers and their supporters must defend themselves and find a way to survive.
Based on a book written by novelist Matt Bondurant called “The Wettest County in the World”. The story is based on his grandfather and uncles’ experiences in Franklin County, Virginia and gives an excellent display of what the times were like. With fantastic work retelling the story by Director Jim Hillcoat, the novel is brought to life on the big screen and he gives and spectacular view of the life of a moon shiner.
An excellent story about prohibition’s advancement to the south and its retaliation it received. Fantastic landscape and scenery displaying the times and cinemascope brought me into the story. The action in the film was well placed and perfectly performed. I was entertained throughout the film and was wondering what would happen next.
Final Grade: I give this an A for its excellent action, description, and storyline.
Cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Nick Cave (screenplay), Matt Bondurant (novel)
Runtime: 115 Minutes (1 hour and 55 minutes)
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Genre: Crime, Drama, and Western
Production Company: The Weinstein Company, Annapurna Pictures, Benaroya Pictures, and Blum Hanson Allen Films
Release Date: August 29th, 2012