Lawless Movie Reviews
User reviews on Lawless
Is it me, or was this movie totally lifeless? In fact, instead of Lawless, it should have been called Lifeless, because it feels so dull and dreary most of the time. The three brothers who think they're invincible because they do all sorts of illegal things and never get caught or hurt seem to live in a bubble and they never really explain how and why they end up doing what they do. Is it because it's just the pre-Depression era America where industries were still blossoming? Why are they so involved with the underworld? Nothing really gets explained in this movie so I have no choice but to guess what happens and why. The characters are all cardboard cutouts without any depth or backstory, which is disappointing considering that this is based on a true story. They don't even have to make it up, just tell the real story! Why they failed to recognize this is the main reason this movie is such a drab.
"Lawless" is AMAZING! I was so totally blown away by how raw and awesome it was, almost as great as "The Road" which I just saw a few weeks ago when I knew I was going to see this movie with Shia LeBouf and Jessica Chastain. Ok, JC doesn't have the best role in her career in this (she's just window dressing) but Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hardy have some amazing roles and they really play them to the hilt. The oldest brother (played by an actor whose name I can't remember) is okay, but he just kind of stands there while the younger two do a lot more of the dangerous bad guy stuff. The action scenes were very gritty and raw, which lent the whole thing an air of reality that I totally dug. Shia LeBouf recently said he's done making big budget studio movies, and this movie shows why: the smaller, more unusual stories are far superior to movies like "Transformers".
My boys were dying to see this movie because it stars their favorite young actor Shia LeBouf from those Transformers movies they absolutely adore. I warned them that it wasn't a comic caper but they insisted that I take them so I did...I think I enjoyed the movie more than they did, ha ha. The movie is about a real life trio of brothers that did all sorts of illegal things during the Prohibition era which got them in more trouble than can be imagined. I didn't care for how violent some of the scenes were (it gets pretty gruesome in certain parts) but I was totally bowled over by the bond between the three brothers. That old saying that blood is thicker than water is definitely true in this movie, and I hope that if nothing else, my boys were able to see how strong family bonds can be. Shia LeBouf is good in it, but Tom Hardy steals the show. I will definitely be getting teh DVD when it releases.
Inspired by the true life story of the Bondurant Brothers of the 1930s in Virginia, Lawless is one of those peculiar movies with an A-list pedigree but which emerges as a decidedly B-grade movie product. Essentially, it tells the tale of three brothers thicker than thieves who are also smalltime thieves with bigtime plans. They are bootleggers, providing their customer base with moonshine and other illegal assorted “goods”, which brings them into conflict with the seedy underworld of Prohibition Era America (yes, boys and girls, it was once illegal to drink alcohol in this, the Greatest Nation on Earth).
The movie can’t decide if it’s about the bond between the brothers (played by Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clark) or if it’s a historical semi-epic, which in the hands of a better director wouldn’t have been an issue (remember The King’s Speech?). Director John Hillcoat has a tendency to make overwrouyght movies that inevitably get caught taking themselves too seriously or in too many directions, which dilutes the overall quality of the final product. He is, you will recall, responsible for the sorta-great but sorta awful movies like The Proposition and The Road. Clearly, he feels an affinity for the classic Western (though technically Lawless is set on the East coast).
The oddest thing about this movie is that Jessica Chastain agreed to the role of Maggie. For an actress who’s been heralded as “the Next Meryl Streep”, this role is definitely a letdown considering she’s executing a purely ornamental role that requires nothing of her but to be coquettish and pretty. Mia Wasikowska, on the other hand, makes her brief role as Bertha Minnix infinitely more interesting because she isn’t burdened with the need to be “pretty”. If only the director knew how to make his female characters more interesting.
This movie is okay, but nowhere near as great as it should have been. You'd think that a movie with Shia LeBouf, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska would be worthy of the cast, but this movie has a rather weak storyline. It's about three bottlegger brothers in Virginia in the 1920s that make money by getting people alcohol and drugs that have been outlawed. Since they are so successful, the underworld marfia types want a slice of their pie, which they must defend to the hilt. Standard issue gangster stuff. There's also a pretty girl in it played by jessica Chastain because . . . I guess because every movie needs a pretty girl. But other than that, her role is so superficial. Mia W gets a much meatier part though she has half the screen time. On the whole, this seems like it wanted to be an Oscar contender but it really doesn't have a prayer. Big time disappointment.