‘Lawless’ Was Not Flawless


Grace Johnson-Debaufre, Op-Ed Editor

I saw Lawless on a whim because I like Tom Hardy, and I had already seen practically every other film in the theater. It was well filmed and well acted, but what’s the point of telling this story? Maybe because it’s based on real events (the story of a trio of bootlegging brothers during Prohibition) it didn’t follow a typical movie plot. So I was sitting in the theater (with a very full bladder), and I had no idea how much time was left. I had no clue what everything was building up to, and ultimately it wasn’t worth waiting to go to the bathroom for. The story is by no means bad or boring, but it just seemed chaotic and confusing to me at points.

The actors who played the Bondurant Brothers (Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, and Shia LaBeouf) were all quite distinctive in their roles. Tom Hardy seemed to be doing his best interpretation of a bear. He was still quite bulked up from his role in The Dark Knight Rises, and so his thick southern accent and monosyllabic lines made for a very growly performance. Shia LaBeouf, on the other hand, performed his best impersonation of a 40-pound weakling. I was quite peeved by his role because he lacked a purpose. For much of the film he got beat up, frivolously spent his newfound bootlegging wealth, and tried to get into the skirt of a young religious girl (not a very admirable purpose for the main character). The third and least important brother played by Jason Clarke was actually my favorite. He was basically a drunken attack dog, a role that I found surprisingly endearing. The villain of the film, special deputy Charlie Rakes, was excellently disgusting thanks to the superb acting of Guy Pierce. These roles were all well acted, but I had trouble connecting to any of them, which did not help convincing me that this story deserved to be told.

Overall, the story was entertaining enough to make up for it’s confusing moments. If you like watching films about the illegal production and sale of alcohol, this is right up your alley. To those who are squeamish and swoon at the sight of blood, be a little wary. Without spoiling it, several people have some close shaves with a knife. Lawless isn’t a bad movie to spend money on when you have nothing else to do.

Rated R: strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

Runtime: 1 hr. 55 min.

For more information about Lawless check out imdb.com and rottentomatoes.com.