After a new deputy comes into Franklin County, Virginia the Bondurant gang is harassed by the authorities wanting a cut of their profits in this Depression-era crime drama based on Matt Bondurant’s book The Wettest County In The World.
Although I cannot compare this movie to the book it was based on, I can say that this was an enjoyable movie. Movies about gangsters in the 30s are common: we all know of Al Capone in the big city, but not as many know the story of the Bondurant gang. The story is gripping in its intensity and violence, but quiet enough to elicit real emotional responses from the characters and audience. For people expecting a big shoot ‘em up movie with car chases and gun battles every five minutes as in some gangster movies, they will be sorely disappointed. Based more on the story than the action, it feels like a character drama with some violence mixed in. Not shying away from the violence, it was definitely a bloody movie, providing many shocking scenes that felt very real.
The characters were wrought with emotion and intensity, bringing great performances from everyone. The standout performance was by Tom Hardy. Forrest Bondurant is a man who doesn’t need to say much to get his ideas across, and Hardy is the perfect man to play such a stoic, powerful character. Along with Hardy, Shia LaBeouf is heartwarming as the youngest brother and narrator, Jack Bondurant. With his naive sweetness with the girl, and scared but bold moves against the cops, he quickly becomes a favourite character.
I would not be surprised if this movie was nominated for awards in categories such as soundtrack (mainly by The Bootleggers, but with a folky mix of others as well), acting, and more. This movie kept me engaged and made me want to read the novel that it was based on. If you’re not too squeamish, or if you are a fan of the 1930s gangster film, then I would definitely suggest going to see this movie.
Lawless is rated R for brief nudity (female full frontal), lots of violence (a pig is shot, lots of shooting, a man’s neck is slit onscreen, etc), swearing, and alcohol consumption.
What did you think of the movie? Was the violence too much for you?