So, Lawless is a drama gangster film based on a true story. It’s set in a small town in the state of Virginia during the Prohibition era (1930s) and stars Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy and Guy Pearce, amongst others. The story revolves around three brothers; Forrest (Tom Hardy), Haward (Jason Clarke), and Jack (Shia Labeouf) who are liquor bootleggers.
Not too far into the film a Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) comes into town and pretty much tries to shake down all the local bootleggers for a cut of their profits. Now Forrest is a bit of a bad ass, so naturally he tells the Special Deputy where to go and tries to unite all the local bootleggers against the law. This sets in motion a gripping, yet at times slow, war between the two sides.
So the first thing to mention is that the acting in this film was great. There wasn’t a single actor in this film that made you think “why is he in this?”. However, unfortunately the characters were not written very well so you didn’t really gain much of an emotional attachment to many of them. Apart from Forrest, who had a quiet yet gallant charm about him, and the Special Deputy who you learn to hate by the end.
This film also had that shock factor about it when it came to violence. Not graphically violent, but more that it could make you tense up and could stun you a little just by using sounds or by implying what was happening without actually showing you much, if anything at all.
This is much better than showing shocking images because it really brings out the quality in the acting and directing. Don’t panic if you’re into graphic violence though, there are still some pretty graphic parts in this film, it’s just not overloaded with it.
There should have been more said about the unity of the bootleggers in this little town as this wasn’t explained all too well.
Even though Lawless is a drama it also has its moments that are quite funny and there were several times when everyone in the cinema burst out laughing.
Overall Lawless was a great film about three brothers and the corruption that surrounded the Prohibition era. The acting was exceptionable and the story was gripping, be it a little slow at times.
Unfortunately there was little emotional attachment to characters with only one or two exceptions. But if you’re the type of person who likes dramas or enjoys a gangster films then you should watch this, because it will pretty much have you on the edge of your seat by the end of it.