Lawless

Lawless Image
Metascore
58

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

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 323 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) Expand

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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: 26 out of 49
  2. Negative: 5 out of 49
  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. 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 theWhile 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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  4. Sep 7, 2012
    7
    Having seen The Road a while back and The Proposition prior to this I was expecting the equal amount of dramatic, incredibly tense scenes backHaving seen The Road a while back and The Proposition prior to this I was expecting the equal amount of dramatic, incredibly tense scenes back to back I was expecting so much but it didn't quite fulfill my expectations. I felt ,compared to Hillcoat's last two films, this one to be a little watered down. I did enjoy this film though, the entire cast was great even Shia LaBeof. If he does more roles like this he will prove his acting talent. Tom Hardy is great as always, although his consistent grunting seemed a little silly. I would always like a little more Gary Oldman, he had the best performance in my opinion and he was only in it for three or four scenes. Guy Pearce is just so evil in this role he is the one that stood out from the entire main cast. What I found really annoying was the amount of times one particular character gets shot stabbed, and still lives. They make the idea of them being indestructible too over the top and ridiculously unrealistic, I felt as if the characters should have been dead the first time. I thought the ending was too cliche it could have ended in the same idea but done differently. Overall I did like the movie, I love these grim, gangster, prohibition-era type of movies. The environment looks great. It's worth a watch. Expand
  5. 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,"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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  6. 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 toI 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
  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 49 User Reviews

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