• R, 1 hr. 55 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    John Hillcoat
    In Theaters:
    Aug 29, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Nov 27, 2012
  • The Weinstein Company

Opening

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Lawless Reviews

David Thomson
The New Republic
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It's slight and casual to the point of laziness, but it's straight fun, done with knowledge and a laconic pleasure. You could do far worse.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

June 14, 2013
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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The center of narrative gravity is hard to locate; for whom are we rooting, and does anything really ripple outward from this nasty local fight?

Full Review Source: New Yorker

September 3, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Fans of The Proposition will have to settle for sublimely evil performances by Gary Oldman (as a murderous rival) and Guy Pearce (as a government agent) and a large quotient of gut-wrenching violence.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

August 31, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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With a dynamite cast, an iconic screenwriter in rocker Nick Cave and an Aussie director in John Hillcoat, you assume a new classic. What you get is an ambitious try.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 30, 2012
John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
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You can sense the filth, and smell the rust, and feel the ingrained poverty that might well convince a family of survivors (of World War I and the Spanish flu) to make their fortune selling moonshine to their neighbors.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

August 30, 2012
Dana Stevens
Slate
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There's something at the movie's heart that remains flimsy and inauthentic, a kid in his older brother's ill-fitting shoes.

Full Review Source: Slate

August 30, 2012
Mark Feeney
Boston Globe
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Much of the action may be nearly as grim as in director John Hillcoat's previous feature, "The Road" - "Lawless" is very bloody - but the scenery and production design are a whole lot nicer.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 30, 2012
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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This isn't to say that there's not enough here, but just don't look for it all to add up.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 3/5

August 30, 2012
Keith Phipps
AV Club
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Lawless is filled with forbidding shadows and verdant abundance, contrasting the indifference of nature with the violence of the humanity within it.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

August 30, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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I can only admire this film's craftsmanship and acting, and regret its failure to rise above them.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 29, 2012
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
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"Lawless" offers a compelling, gruesome and instructive time-travel exercise.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

August 29, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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At its core, this is a film about men doing violence to men. And they do plenty of it.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4/5

August 29, 2012
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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The unflinching slicing and dicing is viscerally brutal, but without sufficient character development Lawless simply feels lifeless.

Full Review Source: USA Today

August 29, 2012
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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This is a well-made movie that deserves a higher profile than it is being accorded.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Ultimately, "Lawless" is just another gangster movie, and not a very good one ...

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 29, 2012
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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The action is, overall, as exciting as the primary performances are impressive.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

August 29, 2012
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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This should've been a really good picture, especially with Hillcoat's crack ensemble. Instead it's a stilted battle waged between the material and the interpreters.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 29, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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An inescapable sense of "so what?" sets in early with "Lawless," almost as soon as Shia LaBeouf begins his lackluster opening narration.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2/4

August 29, 2012
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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A story of entrepreneurship, of family, of fighting for one's rights - the right to make white lightning, and money. It's as American as apple pie.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2012
Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
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Turns the Virginia hills of the early 1930s into just another backdrop for a clockwork succession of perfunctorily filmed showdowns and shootouts.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

August 29, 2012
Tom Long
Detroit News
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"Lawless" is a sprawling story of dirt road bloodlines and stubbornness, solid but a bit out of control.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B-

August 29, 2012
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
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Historical authenticity and pulp fiction blend nicely in "Lawless," a lush-looking drama full of blazing Tommy guns, fast jalopies, brutish men and delicate women.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2012
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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At least a third of its two hours is devoted to "arty'' shots of landscapes.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

August 29, 2012
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Hillcoat and Cave give us more than an action story. They create a world.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2012
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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Lawless turns the literary tone of its source novel into something faster, leaner and more populist.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

August 29, 2012
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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All slicked up but mostly firing blanks, John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era western Lawless looks and sounds great but fails to tell a compelling story.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

August 29, 2012
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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Hillcoat's ultra-violent drama plays like a hot, sweaty, delusional fever dream and is similarly fitful. It can be visceral and operatic, beautiful and brutal but also slow and overlong.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 29, 2012
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
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A character study that puts its focus on its least sympathetic characters.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

August 29, 2012
Stephanie Zacharek
NPR
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[Lawless] is both too obvious and not direct enough, and its shapelessness dilutes its power.

Full Review Source: NPR

August 29, 2012
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Shia LaBeouf plays young Jack Bondurant with more conviction and skill than we have seen before.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

August 29, 2012
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
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Hardy's an exceptional actor, and LaBeouf has a certain fizzy charisma, but they each twang embarrassingly every time they have a sentence or two to utter, and not even in a way that matches.

Full Review Source: TheWrap

August 28, 2012
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
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The narrative often seems at odds with the director's pictorialism, trudging when it should be striding toward the climax, isolating the performers on their marks when everything depends on taut blood-ties interconnection.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

August 28, 2012
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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The fire that stokes the story is violence. Yet despite some gruesome images and the psychotic fervor of Rakes, it's a frustratingly slow boil.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 28, 2012
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Mr. Hardy mostly grunts, growls and ribbits, occasionally interrupting his angry bullfrog impersonation to deliver down-home bromides that make him sound like Toby Keith choking on a Cheeto.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

August 28, 2012
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
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Bad-ass from start to finish.

Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com | Original Score: 4/5

August 23, 2012
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
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A great deal of rowdy, crowd-pleasing fun, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: B

May 25, 2012
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Hardy's presence is compelling, but the film comes fully alive only when it turns bloody. At those moments, though, it has the kick of a mule.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B

May 20, 2012
David Fear
Time Out New York
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Intermittently intriguing, wildly uneven.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York

May 20, 2012
Mike D'Angelo
AV Club
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A thoroughly familiar-but flavorful and rousing-shoot-'em-up set among Prohibition bootleggers.

Full Review Source: AV Club

May 20, 2012
Karina Longworth
L.A. Weekly
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Never-not-fun junk food enlivened by good actors and a thin ghosting of Hollywood-style "relevancy", but only barely enough actual substance to keep the shoot-em-ups interesting.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

May 20, 2012
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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It makes for an oddly comfy experience considering the death and hurt at the film's core.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

May 20, 2012
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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Lawless tries to be flawless; as a movie, it's often listless - lifeless.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

May 20, 2012
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
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Fueled by a brooding sense of dread, visceral bursts of violence, potent atmosphere and some juicy character portraits from a robust cast.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

May 19, 2012
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