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 Post subject: Lawless (2012)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:41 pm 
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This 1920s bootlegging tale takes place in Franklin West Virginia, and it follows three brothers over several years. The Bondurant family, Howard (Jason Clarke), Forrest (Tom Hardy), and Jack (Shia LaBeouf), find themselves in the middle of a changing political structure which violates their current belief structure. Before Special Deputy (from Chicago, as he constantly reminds them) Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) appears, they have little trouble bribing the cops in their town to look the other way when it comes to their bootlegging trade. Once Rakes steps into the picture, they find that life isn't as smooth as it used to be. Rakes wants a payment, and a cut, and clan leader Forrest isn't interested in paying out to people he doesn't owe anything to.

Despite the fact that the movie claims to be based on the book "Wettest County in the World" and that it's a true story, it's been confirmed that there are some notable differences between the two. Regardless of the movie's veracity, it follows a cliched story line. The main characters, despite being "bad men" are faced by even worse "bad cops" and they need to come out on top of it.

The true flaws with this story actually come out in a variety of ways. Upon entering the film, news articles that accented the on set difficulties were numerous. Shia LaBeouf's obsessive and aggressive near-stalking behavior towards co-star Mia Wasikowska led to her requesting to leave the film. On screen the palpable discomfort she had being around him was so obvious that it was impossible to buy into their relationship. There was simply no chemistry between them, and every time he looked at her he looked like he was ready to drag her somewhere and rape her - it was disturbing and way over the top.

Further reports of LaBeouf and Hardy getting into a fight that ended in Hardy getting knocked out only shed light onto the clear tensions that the set maintained. The chemistry and the familial dynamics between the actors on screen just wasn't clicking. More times than not, it seemed like Forrest didn't give a damn whether Jack lived or died and that he was doing everything out of a grudging sense of requirement than anything else.

Praise for Hardy and Pearce's acting in the film has been numerous, however I found both roles to be flat. They said their lines, and they did their job. Hardy's character was not given as much depth as he could have had, and his reactions and time on screen in order to strengthen those complexities weren't given enough time to process or grow. Pearce was very one dimensional, he came on the screen as a raving lunatic, he left it like a raving lunatic. There wasn't much for him to work with, and he was unlikable from start to end. While he played a good bad guy, for what it was worth, I didn't find the performance to be anywhere near "Oscar worthy" as people continue to proclaim.

The true acting accomplishment goes to Jessica Chastain who plays former Chicago dancer turned Waitress - Maggie Beauford. From the moment she walks on screen she glows, and she stole every line and every scene she was in. It was impossible to truly take your eyes off of her, and the emotional range she displayed was truly well done.

Her interactions with Forrest lead to some of the most compelling scenes the movie has to offer, and it is only through her that the range of Hardy's own acting abilities is fully seen. Because so much of his acting is based off of responding to Chastain, his character could only grow through Maggie's presence. The moment he was not with her, the magic seems lost and the scenes feel flat once more.

Out of the three Bondurant brothers, the one that gets very little time or mention is Howard. He perhaps says all of ten lines in the entire movie, despite his on screen presence in almost all the film. Acting like a ranging pit bull, he listens to whatever his younger brother, Forrest, has to say. If he says "sic him" he sics him, and if he says "That's enough" that's enough. Why it is that Forrest takes over as the patriarch (and by Hardy's own admission: occasionally the matriarch) of the family is left entirely unclear and doesn't come across well in the film. For some reason, the middle brother is in charge, and left to deal with a trigger happy impulse driven Howard and an ineffectual and unthinking little brother.

Drawing away from the actors for a moment and looking at the film's structure itself: The script was very choppy. Time jumps forward at a rapid pace and it's difficult to gather just how many months (or years) have passed as the story continues. If one follows the book, you find that as much as fourteen years pass during the story - something that doesn't come across in the movie at all. Despite Jack Bondurant's narration throughout the film, figuring out just when everything was taking place was difficult.

To further muck up the story, the ending of the film leaves much to be desired. It was ineffectual as far as an ending goes, resolving nothing and making the true point of the movie seem lost among a blaze of gunfire and revenge. What could have served as a thoughtful ending, was ruined by the addition of one final scene showing a future in 1940. This final scene's one shining moment - where it showed the fate of one character, was turned on its head when it explained the eventual death of that same character. It left the viewer wondering about "what the point" of the ending even was. Defeating the whole purpose of an epilogue in the strictest sense.

The movie itself could have been successful, however with the disaster of a chemistry mix between the cast and a truly poor written script, it was doomed from the start. Cameo appearances by high named actors (Gary Oldman for instance) truly didn't help carry this film over into a memorable production.

I would give it a 4.5/10. If it was on TV one night when I had little to do, I'd skip over it and wouldn't even bother mentioning it to someone to watch. It failed to live up to expectations, and truly wasn't as powerful or as well done as it could have been.



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:40 pm 

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Good review. Totally agree with the 4.5/10 rating. There were too many elements of Lawless being a Shia LaBeouf from Transformers is now a serious ac-tor vehicle.

It looked good and the narrative certainly moved, but not very coherently, traits it shares with the previous John Hillcoat/Nick Cave film The Proposition.

Tom Hardy was good, but that's cos he's Tom Hardy. Otherwise "Meh".


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:51 am 

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ok im definitly too sleepy to make a serious review but come on 4.5?
by no means was it groundbreaking but id be interested in knowing which movies ud rate 8 or higher giving this one 4.5
id give it a solid 7 hardy is solid and was hilarious to me, chastain was suprisingly good,pearce was solid and gary oldman cant fail.hey i dislike the transformers boy as much as the next guy and while i found him the weakest link it didnt sink the movie lower than an 6 in my opinion.

further i dont agree with the time part of your review and again should you read this i would be interested in knowing which movies you would recommend


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