With blockbusters dominating screens over the summer and most of the more arty releases held back for the Oscar season, Lawless is one of the most mature, cultured movies out in months.
Boasting character arcs that pleasingly take the entire movie to resolve, Lawless is more rounded than John Hillcoat’s recent films, and an impressive effort from still one of Nick Cave’s first ever screenplays.
Jack and Forrest Bondurant take the lead (Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) as leaders of a bootlegging gang at the height of Prohibition-era Franklin County, but when a new deputy (Pearce) rolls into town wanting to clamp down on alcohol trade, they’re forced to step up their game or risk losing the business forever.
While some of the interactions felt a little unbalanced, Guy Pearce’s performance as striking as his haircut and Tom Hardy’s apparent invincibility was used for effective comic relief. Though the pace struggles at time, then again, this is Hillcoat, so you should know in advance it’ll be more of a marathon than a sprint. Lawless is still one of the standout movies of the year, never mind the summer.