It’s not very often that you get a classic, old school shoot up film these days, which is one of the reasons that Lawless was such a hot prospect ahead of its release in 2012. Set in prohibition era USA, it tells the true story of three brothers’ bootlegging business as it comes under threat from scheming officials, and with an all star cast and an action packed trailer, which you can see below, it was a minor moonshine success.
Cinema: The Lawless release date was on the 31st of August 2012 and it helped to contribute to what went on to be a great end to a blockbuster summer at the big screen with the likes of Avengers Assemble and the other big Tom Hardy release of the year, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.
DVD, Blu-ray ad digital download: Following its run at the pictures, it didn’t go on to be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download in the UK until the 14th January 2013. However, it was available in the States on the 27th November 2012.
The Bondurant brothers are trying to make a living selling liquor in Virginia during the crunch of prohibition and while their efforts sail under the radar initially, they eventually become the target of crooked officials who try to muscle in on their action to take a sizable cut. When they fight back they face an onslaught from Deputy Charles Rakes, who’s been sent in to control the situation and will stop at nothing to destroy them with sadistic intentions.
Tom Hardy, who is also set to breath new life into Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as creating Gotham havoc in The Dark Knight Rises this year, plays the inevitably beefed up Forrest Bondurant. Shia LaBeouf (Tranformers: Dark Side Of The Moon) plays youngest brother Jack with Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys) as Howard Bondurant. Mia Wasikowska (Alice Through The Looking Glass) stars as the preachers daughter and Jack’s love interest, Bertha Minnix, and Jessica Chastain (The Martian) plays Maggie Beauford, the new waitress at the Bondurant gas station and diner.
Villainous intent is added by the sinister presence of Guy Pearce, who looks a lot nastier than he did in Prometheus, as Deputy Charley Rakes with what can only be described as the hair cut equivalent of Hitler’s mustache. Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) plays gangster Floyd Banner.
Written by Nick Cave, who also provides the music for the film, it is an adaptation of the historic novel, The Wettest County in the World, by Matt Bondurant, grandson of one of the Bondurant brothers. It has been directed by John Hillcoat, who brought The Road to life so vividly back in 2009.
DVD and Blu-ray special features
Both the DVD and Blu-ray release for the film include the following extras:
- Audio commentary with John Hillcoat and author of the book, Matt Bondurant
- The True Story of the Wettest County In the World feature
- Franklin County, Virginia: Then and Now feature, looking at how the place has changed since the prohibition-era
- Willie Nelson’s Midnight Run music video
- Deleted Scenes
Lawless was preceded by a strong trailer (below), but incredibly the film tops it with a good story line, some solid performances from Hardy and LaBeouf, and yet more dependable vision from director John Hillcoat. There’s a lot more action than expected and it twists and turns its way through a ferocious ending, while still being able to raise a wry laugh here and there.
Both Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska are both a little bit brilliant in the film and it all comes together with the pointed and flouncy vicious delivery of Guy Pearce. It’s a well crafted film with impressive period recreation, which is well worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it.