Wow. Lawless is an intense film. From start to finish, it draws you in and spits you out the other side. Everything about this film worked – story, acting, direction, photography (that is some beautiful country) all came together to give a hard ride into the past. If you think people in the 20s and 30s were any less violent than today, you don’t know your history.
It’s a long film (116m) that doesn’t skimp on story but I didn’t even really notice the time passing. It also doesn’t go too far in the other direction with the action. It’s a nice balance that keeps you interested in what comes next, even when you’re cringing on behalf of the characters. This is the down-and-dirty, in-your-face (literally) violence that today’s gangsters aspire to; the characters are willing to throw down when threatened and to protect their own. And there are, believe it or not, some truly funny moments, generally revolving around Shia’s character since it’s partly his coming of age story being told.
Of the actors, I’ve got to say that Tom Hardy deserves some kind of award. They were all great, but the man had maybe a hundred words of dialogue in the entire film but he conveyed everything with just a look, grunt, or single word. Outstanding.
One minor criticism I do have is that if you’re going to nab an actor of Gary Oldman’s caliber for your film, you really need to use him a hell of a lot more. Seriously.
If you haven’t already seen it, and you probably haven’t since our theater was half-empty, you really should go before it’s off the big screen.