Lawless

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 334 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 334

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User Reviews

  1. Sep 16, 2012
    7
    Enjoyed much more than the critics average would of suggested. It tries to bill itself as a realistic account of prohibition but plays out like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. It has a somewhat unique view that kept me entertained for the time in the theater but do not expect to be making any DVD purchases of this film any time soon. Decent acting though. The bad guy was a little toEnjoyed much more than the critics average would of suggested. It tries to bill itself as a realistic account of prohibition but plays out like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. It has a somewhat unique view that kept me entertained for the time in the theater but do not expect to be making any DVD purchases of this film any time soon. Decent acting though. The bad guy was a little to much over to top for this movie if you ask me and did not fit in well with the theme or other characters. He fit in like putting Buggs Bunny in Star Wars. Other than that pretty good but not greatness. Expand
  2. 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
  3. Sep 6, 2012
    7
    American mythos lives on in Lawless
  4. Sep 8, 2012
    7
    Overall lawless was... Pretty good no real big complaint I guess. This movie will definitely not win or even get close to being nominated for best picture or anything but I can almost promise you that you will have fun with this film
  5. Aug 31, 2012
    9
    What a rollicking good ol' time at the movies! Think "Breaking Bad", circa 1930, and you have a taste of what "Lawless" is like. Stellar ensemble cast, beautiful cinematography, tremendous production design, one of the best soundtracks of the year (reminiscent of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?), and a LOT of action! Dunno if its gonna cause any Oscar buzz, but I sure liked it!

    This one is
    What a rollicking good ol' time at the movies! Think "Breaking Bad", circa 1930, and you have a taste of what "Lawless" is like. Stellar ensemble cast, beautiful cinematography, tremendous production design, one of the best soundtracks of the year (reminiscent of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?), and a LOT of action! Dunno if its gonna cause any Oscar buzz, but I sure liked it!

    This one is NOT for the squeamish though! TONS o' graphic violence and very bloody, but all of it fits within the realm of the story, so I won't call it gratuitous. Definitely not for everyone because of this factor, Those that see it and have a discriminating eye may catch some editing, continuity, & make-up gaffs, but you know what? Heck, even "Terry Malloy" (Brando) even gets outta the wrong side of the cab in On the Waterfront, so you'll find little "oopsah-daisies" in the very best films of all time. Downloading the soundtrack from iTunes tonight. Grade = A-
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  6. Sep 1, 2012
    8
    Nick Cave and John Hillcoat are back and they offer us another sophisticated historical film "de genre". Lawless is obviously less original, violent and - let's admit it - interesting than its predecessor (The Proposition), it is nonetheless a powerful and striking effort focusing on the destiny of a brotherhood of local gangsters during the prohibition. The actors are convincing,Nick Cave and John Hillcoat are back and they offer us another sophisticated historical film "de genre". Lawless is obviously less original, violent and - let's admit it - interesting than its predecessor (The Proposition), it is nonetheless a powerful and striking effort focusing on the destiny of a brotherhood of local gangsters during the prohibition. The actors are convincing, especially supporting actors such as the gorgeous Jessica Chastain and aweful Guy Pearce. Quite classical, but with a modern and exquisite presentation. Expand
  7. Aug 29, 2012
    9
    One of the best movies of the year. While it doesn't quite reach Hillcoat's masterpiece The Proposition, it's still a beautifully shot, though brutally violent period piece that is expertly acted by the entire cast. While it's ultimately Tom Hardy who steals the show, Guy Pearce looks to be having the time of his life playing the cartoonish (in a good way) and sleazy villain, and NickOne of the best movies of the year. While it doesn't quite reach Hillcoat's masterpiece The Proposition, it's still a beautifully shot, though brutally violent period piece that is expertly acted by the entire cast. While it's ultimately Tom Hardy who steals the show, Guy Pearce looks to be having the time of his life playing the cartoonish (in a good way) and sleazy villain, and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' soundtrack stays with you long after the credits roll. Expand
  8. Dec 10, 2012
    10
    Ran across this movie last week. I have watched it at least 25 times now, read the book and did a little ancestry research. Phenomenal casting, soundtrack carries you to the period and the emotion of the time. Compelling cinematography captures the essences of the hard times people managed to thrive and survive. The movie captures the genuineness of the family bond and speaks to theRan across this movie last week. I have watched it at least 25 times now, read the book and did a little ancestry research. Phenomenal casting, soundtrack carries you to the period and the emotion of the time. Compelling cinematography captures the essences of the hard times people managed to thrive and survive. The movie captures the genuineness of the family bond and speaks to the nature and character of the men and women of the era. My Grandfather and his brother were bootleg drivers in Oklahoma/Arkansas/Louisiana. My Grandfather survived, his brother did not, killed while hall white-lighting, in a high speed chase. Have pictures of them, the stills they operated and their stories. This movie brought back a lot of memories, Love the movie, the acting, location, book, history. Expand
  9. Sep 4, 2012
    0
    It was a horrible movie!The worst one I have seen so far. An absolutely meaningless plot with a tremendous amount of a brutal violence. I honestly have no idea why there is a film about a bunch of criminals who were selling the moonshine. What is so special about it? In those days it was very popular in Russia. Almost in every village there were people who were involved in such activitiesIt was a horrible movie!The worst one I have seen so far. An absolutely meaningless plot with a tremendous amount of a brutal violence. I honestly have no idea why there is a film about a bunch of criminals who were selling the moonshine. What is so special about it? In those days it was very popular in Russia. Almost in every village there were people who were involved in such activities as producing the moonshine why do we need to spend two hours of our life just to stare at this disaster? Expand
  10. Sep 9, 2012
    9
    Not a film for the squeamish or faint-hearted. Casting very good, music was tremendous and the cinematography was superb. I especially thought the casting of women was tops.
  11. Oct 16, 2012
    8
    Really enjoyed this movie, but also felt it could have been so much better! Cinematography was great, and loved the way it showcased absolutely everything.
  12. Dec 1, 2012
    3
    The movie was pretty subpar. The plot was very slow moving and not suspenseful at all. Furthermore the story of 3 unknown hill-dwelling bootlegger brothers really isn't very interesting and I'm not sure it necessitates a movie being made. Regarding the shots, I never understood why in the world they had so many closeups. There was also a very bizarre church scene that I did not know theThe movie was pretty subpar. The plot was very slow moving and not suspenseful at all. Furthermore the story of 3 unknown hill-dwelling bootlegger brothers really isn't very interesting and I'm not sure it necessitates a movie being made. Regarding the shots, I never understood why in the world they had so many closeups. There was also a very bizarre church scene that I did not know the point of. It simply was a movie I could not get into. The acting was good but that's about it. Expand
  13. 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
  14. 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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  15. Sep 8, 2012
    9
    This film has many aspects that make a movie great. There are amazing and fun characters, there is an interesting story, great acting, tension, ect. This movie had something that is missing from movies today and it was made as a money-grabber but it was made to be a great movie. The audience liked this movie, it had scenes that were funny and sad. It had scenes that were made you laugh outThis film has many aspects that make a movie great. There are amazing and fun characters, there is an interesting story, great acting, tension, ect. This movie had something that is missing from movies today and it was made as a money-grabber but it was made to be a great movie. The audience liked this movie, it had scenes that were funny and sad. It had scenes that were made you laugh out loud and sit on the edge of your seat. Everything is great about this movie. Only downside was a little bit too much blood at the very beginning (just a little bit too much) and there wasn't enough Garry Oldman but Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf played outstandingly. Expand
  16. Sep 9, 2012
    1
    Story was weak and violence was gratuitous. Not worth the price of a ticket. I would be willing to see Guy Pierce get a best supporting nod, in spite of the fact that the movie was not good.
  17. Sep 10, 2012
    10
    Brilliant film, wonderful cast. Good to see Tom Hardy playing more American roles. Guy Pearce's character is a total shocker and well acted. I can't praise this film enough. Everybody has their own tastes with regards to what makes a good film and for people to go on this site and slate it is just sad and wrong!!! Good film and if you are the sort to slate this film, get out of your darkBrilliant film, wonderful cast. Good to see Tom Hardy playing more American roles. Guy Pearce's character is a total shocker and well acted. I can't praise this film enough. Everybody has their own tastes with regards to what makes a good film and for people to go on this site and slate it is just sad and wrong!!! Good film and if you are the sort to slate this film, get out of your dark little cave and live a little. Expand
  18. Oct 5, 2012
    8
    The best film of the year so far, Lawless is as gritty and grisly as they come, as well has having one of my new favourite characters of all time. Hillcoat has refined his style to a little less of the overly long panning landscape shots and a little more action, and it works a treat. All the characters are characters you care about, the story is paced perfectly and the cinematography,The best film of the year so far, Lawless is as gritty and grisly as they come, as well has having one of my new favourite characters of all time. Hillcoat has refined his style to a little less of the overly long panning landscape shots and a little more action, and it works a treat. All the characters are characters you care about, the story is paced perfectly and the cinematography, though not as inspiring and bold as Hillcoats previous films, is still well above average. Tom Hardy gives a fantastic performance as the grunting, awkward mass bulk that is Forrest Bondurant. Guy Pearce plays the villain, and though it is a little over played, his overall performance is pure sleaze and lends its hand to the underlying humour throughout as well as providing a much needed hate figure (though Shia LeBoeufs character is easily disliked).

    A great film that, if you enjoy a high level of script, acting, direction and cinematography, is a must see.
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  19. Nov 26, 2012
    9
    Highly underrated - very strong narrative, impressive mise en scène and (f)lawless (see what I did there) acting. The ending could be better, but "Lawless" remains a somewhat important movie in my opinion. The quartet's (Hardy, LaBoeuf, Clarke and Pearce) acting alone should make you wanna see this, it's really a masterclass.
  20. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    John Hillcoat delivers another magnificent drama chock-full of thrilling action, brilliant imagery, and lasting performances from Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, and - most surprisingly - Shia LaBeouf.
  21. Jan 18, 2013
    3
    An action that takes the levels of action way to high.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    An excellently cast and written movie that manages to be extremely brutal without coming across as over excessive with it's violence. It might not get all the facts right but it still provides an excellent look into the lives of these characters. It might even make you want to look further into the history of the events yourself. I really enjoyed Lawless and highly recommend watching it.
  25. Jun 13, 2013
    8
    While trying its hardest to be gritty, realistic and perhaps accurate, Lawless tends to come off too 'Hollywood' a few times throughout the film, but with superb performances and a very graphic tale, it is ultimately one of the best films of 2012.
    Tom Hardy is the undeniable and deserved star of the show, his quiet, focused and very powerful performance as successful moonshine business
    While trying its hardest to be gritty, realistic and perhaps accurate, Lawless tends to come off too 'Hollywood' a few times throughout the film, but with superb performances and a very graphic tale, it is ultimately one of the best films of 2012.
    Tom Hardy is the undeniable and deserved star of the show, his quiet, focused and very powerful performance as successful moonshine business runner Forrest Bondurant lifted the film to new heights it wouldn't have reached without his and Guy Pearce's performances. Based on the true story of the Bondurant brothers, also consisting of Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke). Jack tries desperately to be a part of the business his older brothers run in Franklin County.
    But trouble is not far around the corner, and when the big gangsters from the city are becoming more consistent, Special Deputy Charley Rakes (Guy Pearce) is drafted in to bring sort of order to this lawless county, with his own methods in hand.
    When Forrest refuses a deal to be in the pocket of the law, its a battle of survival and honour from there on in, bloodshed to bloodshed.
    The beautiful cinematography, Prohibition era setting and the landscape add up to an excellent looking film, but it often it seems to get lost in itself, Gary Oldman makes an appearance as notorious gangster Floyd Banner, but disappears quite quickly without much warning. The characters jump in and out of importance but ultimately do have their own burdens and troubles, Forrest is reluctant to let Jack join the business, and he has also to try and encourage the other 'bootleggers' to stand up against the new law in the town.
    Shia LaBeouf's Jack is touted as the driving force of the film, how he tries to finally step out of his brothers shadows, but Forrest is just too good a character to paint over, his calm and collective attitude, but his protection of his family when necessary are shown through Tom Hardy, while Guy Pearce is frightening and often deluded as Charley Rakes, his perfect hair and menacing eyes tell a story that you wouldn't want to hear.
    Graphic in its content, there is plenty here to be entertained, humour, horror, but most of all, performance. Not without it's cons, but Lawless certainly hits all the right notes and has some of the best performances of last year.
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  26. 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
  27. Mar 24, 2013
    7
    Lawless is a powerful film that showcases the acting talents of its cast. Shia delivers a wonderful performance as the foolish and proud but timid youngest brother, while Hardy excels as the grisly silent elder brother, but it is Guy Pearce who delivers the films stand out performance as the deranged Officer of the law with a quick wit and an even quicker bullet a must watch!
  28. 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
  29. 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
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.