Opening today is the new film Lawless. About the film:
Acclaimed director John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) delivers a thrillingly vivid slice of American outlaw history in his epic gangster tale, Lawless. Lawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: three bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. Based on author Matt Bondurant’s fictionalized account of his family, “The Wettest County in the World,” the film gathers an ensemble of gifted, dynamic new-generation stars – Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan – alongside two of the finest actors of their generations, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman. A riveting, intense story of crime and corruption, loyalty and love, brutality and tenderness, Lawless is a rich addition to the American gangster canon.
I should be all over a film like Lawless. I like shows like Boardwalk Empire. I like Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy a lot. I liked Jason Clarke a lot on the short lived TV show The Chicago Code. Throw a redhead like Jessica Chastain in there and this should totally be up my alley right? Well sort of. I liked the film, but didn’t love it. For a couple of different reasons.
First of all, I honestly don’t know why they focused on Shia LaBeouf’s character when his was far less interesting than Hardy’s. I get that the book was written by Shia’s character’s real life grandson, but Hardy’s Forrest should have been the focus. The man thought he was immortal and his legend made others believe it too. His close encounters to death were easily the best parts of the film and Forrest should have been main character. The “will they/won’t they” relationship between Forrest and Maggie (Chastain) was way more entertaining than Shia’s Jack and Bertha (Wasikowska). Jack’s ego seemed to balloon and got the brothers into more trouble than necessary. Forrest was a quiet man and took care of business alongside Howard (Jason Clarke). Jack was all flash with fancy clothes and cars and brought unwanted attention to the family. I simply didn’t like that aspect of the story.
There were a couple of other smaller issues that stuck out to me. In a scene where Jack runs away from a church, he has on no shoes. Then in the following scene a minute later with Guy Pearce (don’t want to spoil too much), he has shoes on. That scene is followed up by Jack getting a gift, one of his shoes he left behind. Also Tom Hardy’s voice was hard to understand at first (no not as bad as Bane), but then after getting out of the hospital he’s easier to understand? I don’t want to spoil that major turning point scene, but once you see the film, you’ll understand. And as a fan of the show American Pickers, the brothers’ business looked like one big episode of things they picked specifically for the movie.
But like I said, I did overall enjoy the film. Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain had great chemistry together and I would love to see them do another film together. Jason Clarke was solid as usual. Gary Oldman had a rather small-ish role, but it’s still Gary Oldman. Dane DeHaan as Cricket was very good and continues to build off his Chronicle momentum. But the man who steals the film to me is Guy Pearce. His Charlie Rakes is one of the better nasty characters to come out in a while. He doesn’t quite get under your skin as say Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds, but he’s still very good. From the hair to the white gloves and pretty boy mentality, Charlie Rakes is everything you want in a character you love to hate.
Lawless should clean up at the box office with very weak competition. I’m not quite sure why it’s opening on a Wednesday, but with not one new film doing well the past weekend, Lawless should make some bank over the next couple of days and could knock off The Expendables 2 as number 1 this weekend if The Possession doesn’t do well. I do recommend it and know people who liked it a lot more than me so if you like Westerns or movies in that style, you should enjoy it.
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