[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]
Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by a new deputy and other authorities who want a cut of their profits.
Lawless was a film I was looking forward to. I was looking forward to Lawless being that end of summer hit. After all the blockbusters were over with, in would come this great little film with a fantastic cast that would just end the summer film season perfectly.
I didn’t quite get my wish. See, I think my expectations were too high. Aside from the Shia inclusion, I was blown away by the casting in this film. Not just Tom Hardy in a leading role, but Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain and Guy Pearce. That is a whole lot of good to fit into a film. And it turns out, there just wasn’t enough film to fit all those good people in it.
Lawless is based on the true story of the Bondurant boys – a family of bootleggers. Like the IMDB summary says, their way of life is threatened when Guy Pearce’s Rakes enters the game and his only goal is to get shot of al booze in the county. Simple story. Which is fine. But the story itself didn’t amount to much. Thing happened. But there was never a real climax. It felt like watching a very pedestrian story of a family of bootleggers. Well, ignoring all the bloody violence, of which there was a fair amount of.
Alongside that, the players in the film, while great, I left the cinema wondering why they were in it. Gary Oldman’s Floyd Banner was pretty much a cameo appearance. I wanted more Oldman – he was great in those short minutes we got him. Jessica Chastain’s Maggie was barely in it and her role just about amounted to a bit of eye candy. Why was she there? Tom Hardy was fantastic as one of the Bondurant boys. With a mere grunt he could convey so much! Also, I don’t think there has been such a manly man who can pull of cardigans as well as Tom Hardy did here. Jason Clarke was another stand-out for me. The ever loyal but oh so drunken Howard. The last thing I saw him in was The Chicago Code (which I do still miss). What about Shia LaBeouf? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by his performance here. BUT. I don’t think he has the chops for such a heavy leading role.
Lawless did have a great score and a beautiful selection of songs. It felt like it could be authentic. That you were watching this true story of the Bondurant boys. I just wish something happened towards the end.
Read on to see all the films watched this year…