Frequently boring and with an immorally underused cast, Lawless deserves to be respectfully ignored
Lawless is a savage disappointment. Director John Hillcoat has a cast brimming with stupendously talented actors – yet he somehow manages to produce a film which strives so hard to be epic yet fails miserably in its pursuit.
Lawless follows the actions of the three Bonduran brothers (including Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf), who made and sold moonshine during Prohibition-era America. The brothers come into conflict with a deputy (a particularly revolting and sinister Guy Pearce who is actually rather good as a villain) and much violence ensues. The plot isn’t entirely original in any way but I can’t particularly fault it either. Lawless’ crimes lie elsewhere…
The cast also features Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain (all of whom put in perfectly satisfactory performances) and the criminally underused Gary Oldman. Oldman, being one of the finest British actors going around, features in around three scenes and his role genuinely has him shoot a man, hit another man with a spade and sit in a chair. That’s it. Oldman is basically not even in the film.
I also found issue with Tom Hardy, also an actor whom I greatly admire, yet he is mostly inaudible (after playing the almost-inaudible Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, is this now Hardy’s ‘thing’?) and I found that to be excruciatingly annoying. Hardy barely acts in Lawless (he just stands around looking cool and tough whilst occasionally getting injured and mauled) and it’s a real shame.
To be fair to Lawless, it looks very, very pretty. The broad, dusty landscapes and rickety wooden constructs are all great to observe. Lawless also does a very good job of bringing you (with all its three-piece suits, Tommy guns and skinny-automobiles) into the world of 20th century Prohibition-eraAmerica.
However, Lawless’ final climax on a bridge is awful. If you ever wondered what the most dismal of anti-climaxes looks like – watch Lawless to find out. The ending following is woeful and I was left feeling robbed and cheated out of two hours which I would have much rather spent watching another film. Out of all its faults, Lawless’ greatest is that it just isn’t that fun to watch, in fact; it’s quite a drag and frequently boring. Do yourself a favour – respectfully ignore this one folks!