Matt’s Review: ‘Lawless’ Showcases Brilliant Performances From a Star-Studded CastBy
Tom Hardy is unreal. He is easily one of my favorite actors, ever. My crush started with Inception, grew with Warrior, exploded with The Dark Knight Rises, and Lawless is just icing on the cake (yes people, I’ve seen Hardy’s other work like Bronson). Lawless boasts a tale based on true events filled with actors of the highest pedigree. Shia LaBeouf turns in his best work to date and Jessica Chastain is, well, Jessica Chastain (she’s never not good for those not keeping score at home). The film is filled with tension, ripe with booming gun-fights, laced with drama, and sprinkles in precisely timed laughs — a perfect film leading into Awards Season.
The film follows Bondurant brothers, the kings of the backwoods moonshine industry during prohibition. With that type of notoriety comes folks looking for a handout, even those on the side of the law. Problem is, Forrest (Hardy), the leader of the brothers, doesn’t concede to anyone. He believes the Bondurants are destined to live forever. He himself is rumored to be immortal having survived many death strokes that should have killed him. As the brothers expand their business and continue to snub their noses at those looking for their cut, trouble comes a-knocking via the entirely creepy and easy to despise Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce).
On the note of Guy Pearce, the man can play a spectacular adversary everyone loves to hate. Lawless again shows this side of him as a dignified city man completely out of his element — it’s not that he has trouble holding his own with the country boys, it’s that he dresses so sleek and always dons a pair of gloves, he wears perfume, he always combs his hair, and he’s obsessed with being clean. Pearce’s character is awkward, malevolent, and unpredictable. Pearce plays the perfect bad guy for this tale.
The chemistry between the cast is what sold the picture. LaBeouf’s arc from the weak runt to the mastermind behind the businesses’ new success is gripping. He has many of the best moments in the film showing off an emotional range rarely seen from this ‘action-blockbuster’ regular. Watching Lebeouf and Hardy bump heads is truly a pleasure for any movie fan to appreciate — watching the two team up against Pearce is where the tension and drama ignites. The third drunken brother, played by Jason Clarke, acts as the muscle and the ‘wild card’ of sorts. While Jessica Chastain glows amidst all the testosterone, her role along with Gary Oldman’s, is a side car on the Ducati that is Lawless (who would put a side car on a Ducati?).
Overall, Lawless measures up to the film I was anticipating and hoping it would be. I was gunning (see what I did there?) for it to be my favorite of the year, but it didn’t quite hit all the right notes. Any person who fancies any of the headliners in Lawless needs to see it. It showcases some of the best work from both Hardy and LaBeouf in a drama-filled story almost too good to be true.
What Should You Do? See it in theaters.