Andrew's Review of Lawless
A very entertaining film about three brothers who are "legendary" bootleggers in a little hick town during the Prohibition. Shia LaBeouf shows his acting chops as the youngest brother of the bunch who's also the most ambitious one. He gives a natural performance and has definitely come a long way since "Even Stevens". But the one that steals the show is Tom Hardy as Forrest, the slowest but most intimidating brother of the group. His performance is low-key, often mumbling words and trotting around, but he inhabits the character and after seeing him in polar-opposite roles in "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises", one has to give mad props to the man. He is a phenomenal actor and I'll see anything he does now. Jason Clarke also deserves credit as the third brother; it's a shame he's never mentioned in any of the advertising because he's not as famous as LaBeouf or Hardy, but he turns in a strong performance as well.
The story was a little different than what I imagined... not a bad thing. The atmosphere and production design is perfect for the time, and the music was well selected. I felt Gary Oldman's sub-plot was a little forced though; the trailer has you believe he's a major player in the film but he's really only in it for maybe ten minutes. Still, I suppose ten minutes of Gary Oldman is better than no minutes of him. The always underrated Guy Pearce is fantastic as well, if a little too evil. The film really makes you hate the bastard from the get-go.
To anyone who has a weak stomach for violence, you might want to skip "Lawless". The violence is brutal and frequent. People are shot to pieces, throats are slit, guys are beat to a pulp... there is even a castration. I was surprised at how violent this film was, so proceed with caution!
Overall though, "Lawless" is a very well made film with an A-list cast and a great atmospheric tone. While most of it is dark in terms of material, there are quite a few moments of humor, mostly coming from Hardy. I couldn't help but think of "Boardwalk Empire", a show about bootleggers, and how excited I am for the upcoming season. But that's irrelevant to this film; this gets a good recommendation from me.