These days movies based on true stories are as popular as most superhero movies. The problem with this is that real life is never as interesting as the movies.
It takes a truly exciting and attention-grabbing story to make a successful movie-going experience.
This is the challenge John Hillcoat, director of “The Road,” faced when bringing the story of the Bondurant brothers to the big screen in his newest movie “Lawless.”
The prohibition-era film tells the story of bootleggers Forrest, Howard and Jack Bondurant and the events that lead to the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy.
Legend has it that the Bondurant brothers were immortal. Everyone wanted a piece of what they were selling and no one wanted to get in their way.
Forrest and Howard, played by Tom Hardy of “The Dark Knight Rises” and Jason Clarke, are the two oldest brothers who ruthlessly run the family business, taking care of anyone who gets in their way.
Then there is Jack, played by Shia LaBeouf of “Transformers,” who is the youngest and wants nothing more than to be a part of the family business. The only things he lacks are the drive and brutality his brothers possess.
Everything changes when Special Agent Charlie Rakes, played by Guy Pierce, comes to town looking for a cut of the brothers’ profits. He is taken aback when Forrest refuses to do business with him and threatens to tear their business and life apart.
The Bondurants keep doing business as usual but are soon faced with threats and attacks from Rakes and his men.
Friends and family are caught in the crossfire, and now Jack must step up and join his brothers as they do business with gangsters, increase their supply and fight to protect the legend that makes them immortal.
The best parts about the movie are the incredible performances that every actor brings to the table.
Hardy is amazing as always and creates another unforgettable character to add to his resume.
Not only does he give a great performance, he is the funniest character in the movie and has all the best lines.
To everyone’s surprise, LaBeouf isn’t terrible. In fact he delivers a solid performance that almost makes you forget how awful he was yelling at giant robots. He gives a real and believable, and at times heartbreaking, performance.
Pierce, like always, gives a chilling performance that creeps everyone out, while Gary Oldman makes a huge impact with his 10 minutes of screen time as gangster Floyd Banner.
If there is one thing this movie does incredibly well it is finding great actors and using them to their full potential.
Another great thing about the movie, and probably its biggest appeal, is the setting. Period films are huge with most movie-goers and “Lawless” uses this to its advantage.
The physical setting is beautiful and amazing. It really adds to the story in an incredible way. This, along with the time the movie takes place, gives the audience a truly unique experience and really captures the feel of the South in the 1930’s.
All in all, “Lawless” is a great movie. The story is entertaining, the acting is great and the violence is awesome. The problem with “Lawless” is bad timing.
A movie like this should be released in the fall or winter. Not at the end of the summer, and especially not on a holiday weekend.
Now it will become another period piece that will only be remembered as “the movie Tom Hardy was in after Batman.” So many great movies suffer from this and “Lawless” will not be the last.
While this movie isn’t for everyone, people looking for an entertaining story about family and moonshine should definitely check it out.
It does drag during some parts, but what period piece doesn’t?
It’s rare to find a true story worth telling that holds your attention. “Lawless” is one of those stories.
So instead of watching another “true story” about football teams or demon possessions, check out “Lawless.”