User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 257 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 257
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  1. Sep 5, 2012
    6
    A trio of unruly brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke) sells moonshine in Virginia during Prohibition. The story may be true, but the script's a mess. It takes too long to develop a plot and when it does, it's dull and predictable. There are some painfully violent scenes, but most of the action is tedious. Performances range from over-the-top to outrageous, none creating muchA trio of unruly brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke) sells moonshine in Virginia during Prohibition. The story may be true, but the script's a mess. It takes too long to develop a plot and when it does, it's dull and predictable. There are some painfully violent scenes, but most of the action is tedious. Performances range from over-the-top to outrageous, none creating much empathy. One of the most bizarre touches, musician Nick Cave's two country versions of Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat." Other than that, the film lacks originality or emotion. Expand
  2. Jan 12, 2013
    5
    A rather simple story with simple folk, must be the reason they cast LaBeouf in it. The Brits (Hardy, Oldman, Taylor) are exellent as always, Aussie Pearce makes a great creepy bad guy and Shia is used as a punching bag most of the time...finally he has found the role he was made for. Let's hope type casting ensues. I was mostly entertained, didn't cry though, laughed when Shia gotA rather simple story with simple folk, must be the reason they cast LaBeouf in it. The Brits (Hardy, Oldman, Taylor) are exellent as always, Aussie Pearce makes a great creepy bad guy and Shia is used as a punching bag most of the time...finally he has found the role he was made for. Let's hope type casting ensues. I was mostly entertained, didn't cry though, laughed when Shia got punched, but it won't be remembered as one of the great films of our time... Expand
  3. Sep 12, 2012
    5
    Lawless is an enjoyable enough film but it lacks depth. It also suffers from varying shifts in tone from being a serious and grizzly look at country men adapting to changing times to an almost eighties type romp when some of those same men come into money. There's some good performances, notably Guy Pearce and Tom Hardy but Shia Lebeouf feels very out of place. Theres also a nice cameoLawless is an enjoyable enough film but it lacks depth. It also suffers from varying shifts in tone from being a serious and grizzly look at country men adapting to changing times to an almost eighties type romp when some of those same men come into money. There's some good performances, notably Guy Pearce and Tom Hardy but Shia Lebeouf feels very out of place. Theres also a nice cameo from Gary Oldman (why they have him build so strongly in the advertising, I'm not sure). Credit also to the design crew as its quite lovely in parts as a recreation of the 1930s America.
    There's worse ways to spend your time at the cinema, just dont expect anything as epic as you may like.
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  4. Sep 17, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A very good story and authentic filming location. I gave the lower score of 6 because the director should have had more care in the control of analyzing his scenes for a professional portrayal. I can definitely see Tom Hardy nominated for best supporting actor, he was that good of a character actor (think of Heath Ledger quality of acting and more of his Broke Back Mountain character minus the gay and you'll have the character Forrest in this film). Guy Pierce once again shows he's maybe just a slight step up on acting skills than Van Damme (why do they keep recasting this guy?). I could think of several B movie actors that would have done a better job than him. Jason Clarke did very well and Dane Deehan did a really good job as the character Cricket, but Tom Hardy is the one that made this film shine. SPOILER: My biggest qualm is the scenes where Jack is beaten REALLY badly by Charlie Rakes. Jack is thrown off the porch and lands on a hidden "fall pad" under the dirt and then Charlie follows after him stepping on the same pad; wow talk about amateur scene direction! You can actually see the ground bounce twice of what looks like a buried mattress. Then this scene is followed up with Jack sitting at the family station after he cleaned himself up and Forrest sees him. Jack looks almost no worse for wear and like he's been on the mend for 2 or more weeks. Hello MAKEUP, your fired. Story and acting (minus Guy) I give an 8. Directing I give a 5. Expand
  5. Nov 29, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Such a disappointing movie and nothing even remotely close to what the previews made it out to be. For one, this might've been the slowest movie I've seen in years. And while the acting was great, the character development was not and the plot dragged and jumped throughout. Tom Hardy being a BA and Jessica Chastain just being in it were about the only good things in the movie. And after 2 dragging hours, the ending sucked to boot. I'm probably being overly harsh but I expected so much more. Expand
  6. Sep 3, 2012
    5
    The only thing this film was missing was Burt Reynolds who did a number of these Southern Fried drive in films that made him the number one box office star of the mid-70's: Deliverance, White Lightning, The Longest Yard, Gator and Smokey and the Bandit 1&2&3. Lawless is missing the snap of Roger Corman, Jonathan Demme, and Robert Aldrich. It could have lost 25 minutes and nothing would beThe only thing this film was missing was Burt Reynolds who did a number of these Southern Fried drive in films that made him the number one box office star of the mid-70's: Deliverance, White Lightning, The Longest Yard, Gator and Smokey and the Bandit 1&2&3. Lawless is missing the snap of Roger Corman, Jonathan Demme, and Robert Aldrich. It could have lost 25 minutes and nothing would be missed. The great music is a savior and the use of landscape is coming from an Australian tradition brought to the states by Peter Weir. But it is still an import and has nothing of the feel of place that it tries to create. Expand
  7. Dec 24, 2012
    6
    If you like the shoot-em-up genre, this one should keep your attention. A decent cast is dragged down by another failed attempt to make a leading man out of Shia LeBeouf. I simply do not understand how this actor gets some of the choice parts that seem to fall into his lap. This is also a weak 6/10 in part due to some scenes that simply are beyond belief. That aside, this is a fairlyIf you like the shoot-em-up genre, this one should keep your attention. A decent cast is dragged down by another failed attempt to make a leading man out of Shia LeBeouf. I simply do not understand how this actor gets some of the choice parts that seem to fall into his lap. This is also a weak 6/10 in part due to some scenes that simply are beyond belief. That aside, this is a fairly entertaining rental. Expand
  8. Oct 5, 2012
    6
    Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf are invincible as bootlegging brothers Forrest and Jack Bondurant in John Hillcoat's Depression-era drama. Involving cinematography and an apt soundtrack ensure Hillcoat's vision of 1920s Virginia is both aesthetically and atmospherically gorgeous, whilst Nick Cave's adapted screenplay offers an entertaining catalogue of bloody brawls, fluttering romances andTom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf are invincible as bootlegging brothers Forrest and Jack Bondurant in John Hillcoat's Depression-era drama. Involving cinematography and an apt soundtrack ensure Hillcoat's vision of 1920s Virginia is both aesthetically and atmospherically gorgeous, whilst Nick Cave's adapted screenplay offers an entertaining catalogue of bloody brawls, fluttering romances and sprightly moments of comic relief. Raw, energetic and loaded with great performances, Hillcoat's period piece is a real blast. Expand
  9. Oct 7, 2012
    4
    One would expect all these no doubt fantastic actors to select their projects with concise precision. Their craft is beyond imitation, and their portrayal of characters uniquely defined. It is in fact the dramatic deliverance in this piece that was particularly enjoyable.
    Unfortunately, the screenplay didn't keep up with this bargain. The characters followed a path that was cliché
    One would expect all these no doubt fantastic actors to select their projects with concise precision. Their craft is beyond imitation, and their portrayal of characters uniquely defined. It is in fact the dramatic deliverance in this piece that was particularly enjoyable.
    Unfortunately, the screenplay didn't keep up with this bargain. The characters followed a path that was cliché at best. There might have been a token surprise here and there, but, let's face it, we've seen this one before.
    I read in a review somewhere that this was a Bonnie and Clide for modern times...wow... Go have a look for yourselves.
    I can't chalk this up as a bad film, though. As I said, the acting was flawless enough to keep me interested, and the cinematography and music was perfectly orchestrated. Perhaps the screenwriters felt it was enough to stamp the "based on a true story" at the opening and just let it coast.
    If you have the patience, wait for the last forty-five minutes of the film. This is when the thing actually becomes semi interesting. And, yes, it all ends as you predicted in the first ten minutes of the movie.
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  10. Nov 22, 2012
    5
    Lawless was truly a mixed bag of beans. Taking place in prohibition period, this film boasts some fantastic performances from the cast, despite the fact that they were playing largely formulaic characters. My main problem with this movie is Nick Cave
  11. Jan 1, 2013
    6
    It was alright. It's slow at times, but reels you in with the action scenes. It can be quite gory at times and unrealistic, but that's the way many movies are nowadays. Good acting as predictable, but the plot struggled at times.
  12. Dec 5, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Un regista australiano emergente, un cast di tutto rispetto, una storia di moonshiners (i distillatori clandestini di whiskey durante il Proibizionismo) ambientata in un Expand
  13. Jan 28, 2013
    6
    "Lawless" is well done, has excellent all around performances and is a fine addition to the genre. It's worth checking out, but be forewarned, you've seen this all before. The film boasts a stellar cast, but it fails to elevate the film to it's potential under the direction of Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition). The film does however offer beautiful technical aspects and"Lawless" is well done, has excellent all around performances and is a fine addition to the genre. It's worth checking out, but be forewarned, you've seen this all before. The film boasts a stellar cast, but it fails to elevate the film to it's potential under the direction of Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition). The film does however offer beautiful technical aspects and production values--the costumes, production sets, and yes, the vehicles are first rate.
    "Lawless" (adapted from the book "The Wettest County in the World"), in which real-life bootlegging brothers the Bondurants are known as the toughest and most successful bootleggers in the business. Oldest brother Forrest (Tom Hardy) runs the family business with quiet brute strength, while his brother Howard (Jason Clarke) is the "crazy one," and then there is the runt of the litter, young Jack (Shia LaBeouf), who doesn't take to violence like his older brothers, but he still wants into the family business. The lucrative business turns bloody, however, when the Bondurants refuse to allow a corrupt politician and his cronies to wedge themselves in to their racket. This leads to a violent stand-off between the county's bootleggers and the corrupt police, lead by Chicago-based federal agent Special Deputy Rakes (Guy Pearce), and it quickly becomes personal, violent, and fueled by revenge. Rounding out the cast is ex-dancer Maggie (Jessica Chastain), who moves to the countryside to escape the violent ways of the city of Chicago, only to find herself surrounded by similar violence.
    The storyline feels run-of-mill despite being based on real people and real events. There really aren't any moments of surprise and shock, as everything unfolds pretty much as expected, all the way up to the very end. So while entertaining and kind of memorable, it's also something that doesn't really rise up it's own trappings and contrivances. Impressive cinematography with outstanding production values don't make up for the fact that their are no real insights into the characters of the "true story"--just leaving us with endless carnage. The final showdown and conclusion is less than satisfying and wraps itself up a little to neatly. It's a respectable film and well-made, but hovers just above mediocrity.
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  14. Feb 3, 2013
    6
    If Atlantic City showed us the Broadway of prohibition violence, Lawless takes us through the back alleys in the world bootleggers and moonshiners. Tom Hardy stands tall as usual and the rest of the well put together cast bring a solid punch. If your looking for good ol country boys with nothing to lose and principle then your in the right town. Lawless pours you drink of violence and badIf Atlantic City showed us the Broadway of prohibition violence, Lawless takes us through the back alleys in the world bootleggers and moonshiners. Tom Hardy stands tall as usual and the rest of the well put together cast bring a solid punch. If your looking for good ol country boys with nothing to lose and principle then your in the right town. Lawless pours you drink of violence and bad ass while not spilling a drop. Expand
  15. Apr 6, 2013
    5
    I had a lot of expectations on this movie. Let alone some very good actors, but the story and the era leaves loads of compelling stories to tell. Sadly Lawless transcended into clichés and sadly not just one but many which interupts an otherwise promising movie. Just when you started to get a feeling for the main characters it got spoiled. The biggest cliché of all is sadly Guy Pierce.I had a lot of expectations on this movie. Let alone some very good actors, but the story and the era leaves loads of compelling stories to tell. Sadly Lawless transcended into clichés and sadly not just one but many which interupts an otherwise promising movie. Just when you started to get a feeling for the main characters it got spoiled. The biggest cliché of all is sadly Guy Pierce. Don't know whether I should blame the directing or the editing but his villain character feels so overacted that it is not even laughable. It's just bad. Other great actors such as Gary Oldman hardly gets to make a lasting impact. All in all it makes Lawless a pretty mediocre film. Tom Hardy though makes a resounding performance and the film has very nice cinematography. But that does not save a film that could have been so much better. Expand
  16. Jun 6, 2014
    6
    Lawless isn't much of a standout film, as it trades most of its dramatic moments for period movie clichés, sex, and cinematic shortcuts until it finally reaches a standard, predictable ending. The one high point is the acting, and maybe even surprisingly better-than-average script.
  17. Jun 28, 2015
    6
    I really like Jessica Chastain's character and then, the ending from Tom Hardy's character. Others were just too easy to learn. Even though the three brothers were very handsome and each has different characters *mostly I like the second brother ~wink*
    What makes me disappoint was the movie tried to make a conflict that the conflict was not really matter and cost the entire hours of this
    I really like Jessica Chastain's character and then, the ending from Tom Hardy's character. Others were just too easy to learn. Even though the three brothers were very handsome and each has different characters *mostly I like the second brother ~wink*
    What makes me disappoint was the movie tried to make a conflict that the conflict was not really matter and cost the entire hours of this movie to explain it. I mean, the villains were amazing creepy but the reason to be a villain in this movie was just bitter. Great performance and great characters, but lack of plot.
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Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Sep 3, 2012
    60
    An uneven mix of impressively executed, violent clichés about good ol' boys defending the American right to flout the law.
  2. Reviewed by: Jane Crowther
    Sep 1, 2012
    60
    Stylish and savage, but nothing you haven't seen before. Lawless is something of a blunt instrument but seductive nonetheless.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 31, 2012
    70
    Lawless is one of those films that, through seeming serendipity, has a cast that defines its moment. There have been others - "The Breakfast Club," "The Godfather" and "Silverado," to name one irrelevant and two relevant examples. But Lawless really lucked out.