Lawless [2012] ★★★

Tom Hardy starring in this fact based story about The Bondurant brothers alongside Shia LaBeouf , Jessica Chastain and Guy Pearce sounds like Oscar Bait. It isn’t. And the sooner you accept it, the more fun you’ll have at this satisfying  crime drama. To be completely honest, there’s no reason  “Lawless” should play as well as it does; it’s formulaic and utterly predictable. But it flows so well, and the cast is so likable, that it’s hard to resist. For some people (including myself), that should be more than enough to keep you hooked for almost two hours. The movie is based on the real-life Bondurant brothers, whose story was fictionalized in Matt Bondurant’s best-selling novel “The Wettest County in the World”. I’ve never read the book, so part of the fun was experiencing the story for the first time. The brilliant Tom Hardy is the leader of the bunch. If you’ve seen him in “Warrior” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, you must know by now that he’s an actor who means business. And here, he gives himself completely to a role he was probably born to play. We learn early on that he survived a World War I attack in which the rest of his squadron perished. Meaning he and his brothers are hard to kill. The younger brother is played by LaBeouf, who much like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, turns out to be the most daring and audacious of the bunch. This will definitely serve him and his family well when they come up against a “sick”, hard-ass special deputy, masterfully played by Guy Pearce (keep an eye on him, the man’s a genius). The result is violence, and plenty of it. Any particular message? Not really. Want to get inside The Bondurant brothers’ head?  Watch how Aussie director John Hillcoat uses color, design, editing and score to take you there. The cast does the rest. Yes the movie does have its flaws and doesn’t always stay on tracks, but it comes at you like Guy Pearce’s  Charlie Rakes did: all of a sudden. It’s a lot of fun.

Rating: 3/4

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