Set in prohibition era Virginia USA, Lawless is based on the true story of the Boundurant brothers, rogue moonshiners who have a good thing going until the authorities send in a new deputy to straighten out Franklin County.
As things unravel, violence flares and the brother’s relatively peaceful set up leaves them with more than one war wound thanks to a deputy who wants to get a share of the profits. Resistance only drives Charles Rake (Guy Pearce) to achieve his goal his way by any means necessary.
Tom Hardy plays the level headed ring leader brother, Forrest, a man of few words who gets things done and has a knack for not getting killed. His brother, Howard, (Jason Clarke) is fan of their own merchandise. The coming of age of youngest brother Jack is played brilliantly by Shia LeBeouf. His story charts him falling for the right girl, which is a problem when you’re the bad boy, being introduced to the family business, building it up and ultimately being a cog in its downfall.
It’s beautifully directed by John Hillcoat, who also directed ‘The Road’ and he shows fantastic attention to detail here.The screenplay for the film was written by Nick Cave, who also gets a cameo. There’s also a supporting role for Gary Oldman as gangster from the city, Floyd Banner.
Despite being on the wrong side of the law, you can’t help but root for the brothers. Their parts are played so well but also Guy Pearse has brilliantly turned his character, along with his weird haircut, into the most horrible character in the movies this year.
Lawless is bloody, it’s violent but when ladies enter the brother’s lives, it’s also quite tender. It’s a really good piece of film making. If you miss this, you will be missing one of the best movies of the year.