Keep It Reel Reviews

Reel People. Reel Reviews.

Lawless (2012)


Rated: R

1 hr 55 min

Staff Writer: Nathaniel Brayton


Shia LeBeouf as a hillbilly moonshiner with Tom Hardy as his older brother? NoNoNoNoNo! (<-video) I mean yesyesyes. With an all-star cast including Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman, Lawless was supposed to be a memorable period piece. Instead, I felt the movie had Academy Award winning performances set in a dull and just plain boring story. 

Tom Hardy plays the leader of the Bondurant Brothers whose legends, which are urban rumors, have transcended  reality. They are feared and idolized at the same time, until one day when Guy Pearce, Special Deputy from Chicago, vows to cut the profits from the brothers moonshining business in the era prohibition. LeBeouf plays the youngest brother, who until that point, has been passive and shied away from violence. As LeBeouf’s character wants to become more active in the business, the Special Deputy violently beats him. Thus, starts the conflict between the Bondurant Brothers and Special Deputy Charley Rakes.

To be honest, Lawless does a lot of things right. The acting is outstanding, and the aesthetics are gorgeous. However, towards the middle I was practically lulled to sleep with the dry and dragged out exposition. Usually, I’m all for fleshing out the story and developing characters, but I just don’t think that anything was added.

Also, we all know that Tom Hardy is a badass and he plays one in Lawless, but something just irked me the wrong way. I’m not sure if it was his cardigan, which I’m positive gives him super powers, or the fact that I could hear Bane slip into his country accent.


I find the ending very out of place as well. The entirety of the film is extremely serious and tense, but ends on a very silly note. While I understand the film is based on a true story, it would have gotten a better score if it had ended with the resolution of the Special Deputy conflict.

But overall, Gary Oldman is still awesome and the best part of Lawless, however brief his screen time was. In the end, a film is judged on how entertaining it is, and that element was just not there for me.


out of 10

“Isn’t that just like you to believe your own damn legend?”


4 thoughts on “Lawless (2012)

  1. The cast seemed like they were all doing their best, and in ways, did fine with it, but the pace just never kept-up with them and sort of slowed things down a bit too much for me. Still, I had a fun time with this movie. Good review.

  2. I pretty much concur – only I would be an awful lot harsher. In fact, I have already been far harsher, if you fancy having a read of my review on politicoid

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