Action Movie Fanatix Review: Lawless

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When The Law Became Corrupt, Outlaws Became Heroes.

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman

Director: John Hillcoat

2012  |  115 Minutes  |  Rated R

“It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.” – Forrest Bondurant

When I heard all the hoopla over Lawless I pretty much dismissed it.  Normally when I hear that a movie is good and critics are raving then I know I need to stay away.  How could a Shia LeBeouf movie be any good?  On the other hand it does have Tom Hardy and lots and lots of moonshine.  Screw it.  I’m in!

In depression era FranklinCounty, Virgina, the Bondurant brothers, Forrest (Tom Hardy), Jack (Shia LeBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke), are the top moonshine whisky bootleggers around.  When  crooked Special Deputy Charles Rakes (Guy Pearce) comes to town shutting down all of the local bootleggers, the Bondurants gain a local monopoly and begin taking their moonshine over county lines and stand in direct defiance of the outsider.

First of all, Lawless has an awesome country, hillbilly, bluegrass, geetar strummin’, gospel singin’, toe-tappin’ soundtrack.  I will definitely be buying it.

From the first second he hit my screen I absolutely loved the Forrest Bondurant character.  He’s tough as all hell and a man of few words and just as many grunts.  Probably half of all his dialogue is completely unintelligible.  Its actually quite amazing that a Brit can pull of this great of a southern boy drawl.  But when the shit hits the fan Forrest can throw down like none other, crackin’ skulls and throats with his badass brass knuckles.

Howard Bondurant is the crazy brother.  You give him a call when you need a crazy brother to kick some ass.  You know this type of hillbilly.  The type that can just go off for no other reason than you looking at his brother/sister/girlfriend/uncle/beer the wrong way.  Everybody needs a crazy brother once in a while.  I don’t have one, however.  But I am actively looking.  You never know…

And little baby brother Jack Bondurant is the weeny brother who finally finds a pair of balls when he gets some warm fuzzy feelings for a goofy looking preacher’s daughter (the preacher is goofy looking, not his daughter.)  I quite enjoyed when Forrest was hard on Jack at the beginning of the movie but still found myself growing to like Jack as he got stronger.

And lastly, the honorary Bondurant brother, Jack’s little buddy rickety Cricket (Dane DeHaan – that kid from Chronicle).  They just call him Cricket but he says he had rickets so…  Well, Cricket is the brewmaster and apparently has a real knack for making moonshine.  I don’t really know how you tell good moonshine from bad but what Cricket produces is apparently the best.

Charles Rakes is easily one of the scummiest bad guys I have seen in a movie in quite some time.  His greasy hairdo alone should get him toward the top of any “git ‘im” list.  When the time comes for him to finally get whats coming to him it is totally worth it.

Lawless roped me in and kept my eyes glued to the screen all the way through.  The story is incredibly interesting and it has tons of action and violence to keep even the most hardcore action fan entertained.  And the top notch acting is just the icing on the cake.  This is also something of a true story which actually makes it that much more interesting.

This isn’t a popcorn flick action movie and it sure ain’t your traditional gangster flick.  Lawless is a special breed of down home country gangster movie that I really have never seen before.  I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, action fan or not.

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