Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
|Featuring:||Tom Hardy … Forrest Bondurant
Gary Oldman … Floyd Banner
Guy Pearce … Special Agent Charlie Rakes
Shia LaBeouf … Jack Bondurant
Jessica Chastain … Maggie
Mia Wasikowska … Bertha Minnix
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The Weinstein Company
“When the law becomes corrupt, outlaws became heroes.”
“Lawless” is based on the true story of the bootlegging Bondurant Brothers in the Prohibition-era. The films open with the 3 brothers quarreling over shooting a pig. This auspicious start sets the tone for the violence to come. The Bondurant Brothers built the reputation of being invincible. While operating their bootlegging business, a new special deputy comes to town and demands the brothers grease the wheel. The brothers refuse, and the story take off.
Right off the top, the male cast is beyond superb, with stand outs being Tom Hardy (Forrest Bondurant) and Guy Pearce (Special Agent Charlie Rakes). I must also mention Gary Oldman, who has a smaller role (Floyd Banner); I wanted to see more of him. His acting is that good. The female cast, I felt, lacked and brought the film down. Even though I watched the film from beginning to end, I felt as if I walked in during the middle; there wasn’t enough backstory to fully hook me, and I relied on the actors and not so much the plot for substance.
With a film about Prohibition, alcohol use is a given; all the characters drink and some are shown drunk. Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) is shown drunk in church, attempting to court the preacher’s daughter Bertha Minnix (Mia Wasikowska). The violence is severe. From fistfights to gunfights and murders, I had to shield my eyes, and I couldn’t believe how horribly vivid the violence was. There is quite a bit of female nudity; I had to again shield my eyes. There is also a prolonged sex scene. The films is LITTERED with blasphemy and swear words; I lost count.
The Bondurant Brothers are portrayed as heroes, even though they are breaking the law, murdering their enemies, lying, drunkards. This portrayal is only pulled off because of the acting of Guy Pearce as the morally bankrupt evil lawman. The contrast brought me to view both men the way God views them and us. We are all sinners, even though we (me included) love to point the finger at those who we deem evil or wrong, and we rarely reflect upon ourselves.
I do not recommend this film, at all. The acting is amazing, and there are bits of humor, but this was almost completely overshadowed by the objectionable content and gratuitous and insulting blasphemy.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
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