It’s back to the grind with classes beginning Monday but if you already feel a little restless, cut back and see the shoot-out action film “Lawless” starring The Dark Knight Rises Tom Hardy along side Shia LaBeouf (Transformers) and Jason Clarke (Public Enemies.) Set during the Great Depression and Prohibition in Franklin County, Virginia the “Moonshine Capital of the World,” three brothers’ bootlegging business is threatened when a new deputy and police force take over their town and wanting a cut of the brothers’ profits.
This movie to me is a pre-game party to the season premiere of the HBO television series “Boardwalk Empire.” If you are a fan of Boardwalk or just the 1920s and gangster films, “Lawless” is right up there. What makes these series and shows so good is when they are based on actual events and people. “Lawless” is based on the 2008 book “The Wettest County in the World” written by Matt Bondurant who is also the grandson of one of the actual brothers. The book tells the story of the three Bondurant brothers and the historical events of the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy, a series of events and a trial that focused on the illegal activities of the moonshine industry in Franklin County.
The book’s main perspective is from the youngest Bondurant brother, Jack, played by LaBeouf. Even though LaBeouf is the main character it is hard not to love Hardy’s character the eldest brother, Forrest, a tad bit more. Ever since his premiere as Bane this summer, Hardy has been stealing the stage right out from under well-known actors such as LaBeouf and Gary Oldman. In “Lawless” he definitely outshines both of his brother co-stars but not too much that you forget them and their contribution to the story. I believe this film has just boosted Hardy’s film career ten times more to the top.
The female roles in this movie are played by somewhat new comers as well and do an outstanding job by proving they can hang with this rough and tough male cast. Jessica Chastin (The Help) plays Maggie, a single woman who comes to town and finds a job working in the Bondurant’s family store. Maggie soon becomes useful to helping the brother’s saving their business and also to Hardy’s character. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) makes her second big film appearance by playing Bertha who soon is caught up in a Capulet and Montague scenario with LaBeouf. I was surprised by Wasikowska’s performance mainly because I had only seen her play a British girl but she held her own and did a fantastic job portraying a completely different and new role.
This is a story where you root for the criminals after they go nuts with a Thompson gun and cheer when a cop car blows up. These outlaws became heroes to their entire town when the law became corrupt. The cast blows you away with their authentic rough and tough attitudes and the explosions and shootouts are just the cherry on top. “Lawless” is now playing in theaters!