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Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 258 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Lawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel “The Wettest County In The World”, theLawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel “The Wettest County In The World”, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave. (The Weinstein Company) Collapse
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 29, 2012
    80
    Lawless is one of those movies that feels like it's trying to say something more important than it really is. It could have been better, but with Hardy and Pearce on board, it's plenty good enough.
  2. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Aug 11, 2012
    80
    If Lawless doesn't achieve the mythic dimensions of the truly great outlaw and gangster movies, it is a highly entertaining tale set in a vivid milieu, told with style and populated by a terrific ensemble.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 29, 2012
    75
    The strength of the cast assembled by Australian-born director John Hillcoat is eye-opening.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Aug 29, 2012
    63
    Lawless is very bloody - but the scenery and production design are a whole lot nicer.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 29, 2012
    50
    So stunningly photographed that the blood that spurts early and often in this grisly period piece is extra-vivid red. But that hardly makes the Prohibition-era story of a trio of bootlegging brothers feel authentic.
  7. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 29, 2012
    38
    It's hard to make a movie about moonshiners that isn't entertaining, but the lethargic, generically titled Lawless comes perilously close - at least a third of its two hours is devoted to "arty'' shots of landscapes.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 48
  2. Negative: 5 out of 48
  1. 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. PhenomenalRan 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
  2. Mar 15, 2013
    9
    An all star cast makes this one of my favorite films of 2012. Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Dane Deehan, and evenAn all star cast makes this one of my favorite films of 2012. Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Dane Deehan, and even Shia LaBeouf give top notch performances. Making Lawless a must see. Expand
  3. Mar 15, 2013
    8
    A brilliant movie but just misses the chance of being the masterpiece it strived near with a perfect selection of cast its almost tooA brilliant movie but just misses the chance of being the masterpiece it strived near with a perfect selection of cast its almost too impossible to dislike overall. I felt the direction of its characters could have had more depth z& screen time, the movie presented some charming locations added together with some beautiful filming and had a broad as well as relaxing score, Lawless is about 3 brothers (played by Hardy, LaBeouf & Clarke) who run a moonshine business but they are then confronted by a sent Special Deputy (played by Pearce) who wishes to have a cut from the brothers business but is turned down which sends both parties into a violent war. Tom Hardy pulls off a stellar performance as lead brother Forrest Bondurant by showing his diversity as an actor from his strength & pride shown in his character to developing a gritty American accent and showing us he can lead a heavily talented cast, easily making this his best performance to date. Shia LaBeouf plays Jack Bondurant and surprisingly shows some great acting, showing he can distant himself from the Transformers movies and convert to a much more serious & vulnerable role bringing some sense of wittiness & courage to his character which is well built upon throughout the movie. Guy Pearce sure kept the standards high in terms of acting by giving us a legit Antagonist in Deputy Charles Rakes but sadly he single handily delivers the only urge of a real threat in the movie (apart from the attack on Forrest). He puts on a clinic of wickedness in his character and is surely successful in creating a sinister deputy but does fall into a wacky state late in the movie. As for Gary Oldman i felt performed perfectly but his screen time was too short which i felt was a major loss of opportunity same goes for Jason Clarke who plays Howard Bondurant the third brother who does have some great scenes but lacked in depth, emotion and screen time to. He showed a lot of strength and will in his role but lacked major depth almost being more like a family friend then brother throughout the movie. Chastain & Wasikowska both played love interests to Jack & Forrest having great roles but the movie barely capitalized on it and kept scenes simple showing the only challenge for their characters was acceptance and love, i felt they missed a opportunity to shift parts of the movie into a deeper thriller & drama here. The violence can be quite vicious but i felt it kept it relevant to the film and the action scenes weren't blown out of proportion. Lawless is a great movie with minor downfalls but overall it's a beautifully scripted film that deserves more praise then criticism. Expand
  4. Sep 3, 2012
    7
    What a stellar cast we have in Lawless, (Gary Oldman) as the gangster, (Guy Pearce) as the violent deputy from Chicago, (Tom Hardy) as theWhat a stellar cast we have in Lawless, (Gary Oldman) as the gangster, (Guy Pearce) as the violent deputy from Chicago, (Tom Hardy) as the oldest bondurent brother, (Jessica Chastain) as the head waitress at the Bondurants restaurant, then finally (Shia LeBeouf) as the lead actor and most developed character in the film. Can Shia carry with movie on his shoulders? Can he fulfill his western ascent throughout the 1hr and 55min runtime? I believe the biggest query that I want answered from LeBeouf is, âcan he grow up in this film?â? Will Lawless be the movie where he grows up, and get the Even Stevens tag off of him? Or will he still be considered the kid from Disney channel, and all those Transformers movies? Set in the depression era, where the prohibition law took place. A band of bootlegging brothers (LeBeouf, Hardy and Howard) made huge profits of selling liquor, âwhich in the movie was moonshine.â? After successful years of selling moonshine, a deputy from Chicago (Guy Pearce) comes into town to stop the Bondurent brothers from proceeding in their very profitable business, which I mean (LeBeouf buying new cars and nice suits every week.) can the bootlegging smugglers continue to rule their business? Or does the deputy have enough force and will to stop them? The acting in this film was outstanding and was the main reason why I enjoyed the film. (Guy Pearce), who is very unrecognizable in this movie, gives me the finest performance I have ever seen from him. One of the best performances I seen this year so far, heâ(TM)s absolutely violent to the max, and wonâ(TM)t let a thug embarrass him for nothing. One particular scene that Iâ(TM)m very fond of is when (Guy Pearce) and (Tom Hardy) first meet in the movie. That scene is so intense that youâ(TM)re waiting for an all out brawl to happen between those two characters. (Tom Hardy) also plays a very good part as well, he plays another badass role that when pisses him off, you better run. Iâ(TM)ll just say that (Tom Hardyâ(TM)s) character is invincible, literally. Finally we have (Shia LeBeouf) as the youngest and more stupid brother. Jack, which is LeBeoufâ(TM)s character, is the most developed out of them all. He plays the younger brother that just wants to be like his older brothers and make them proud, which leads to some very gruesome and violent scenes. Both (Tom Hardy and Guy Pearce) carry two acts of the film alone. As the third act reels in, itâ(TM)s (Shia LeBeouf) who carriers this film all the way to the end, with a very impressive performance from him. The bone chilling violence, with the great acting and the good script leaves this movie at a high entertaining level, even with the 2nd half of the film being weaker then the first. Lawless is a film that youâ(TM)re either going to relish about, or going to completely shut out. I say this because, the movie is not fast paced, nor does it have a lot of action, and in todayâ(TM)s society that is what most people want when they see films on the big screen. If you like action packed movies, this is not down your ally, and should probably check out Expendables 2, âwhich I have not seen yet.â? I enjoyed the hell out of this film and defiantly will see this movie again some time in the near future. I was atonished by how the movie looked, the set pieces were right on point with the western feel. Good make-up effects for the bloody and beaten faces that most all characters went through in the film. With amazing acting, and great character development, Lawless ends up being worth the full price admission. Back to the question, does Shia LeBeouf finally grow up in this film? "Yes, he certainly becomes a man in Lawless," which i'm very glad to see. Expand
  5. 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 wayIt 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. Expand
  6. 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,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 got punched, but it won't be remembered as one of the great films of our time... Expand
  7. 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. IIt 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

See all 48 User Reviews

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