4.4 5
Director: John Hillcoat

Cast: John Hillcoat, Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke


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Three rebellious, bootlegging brothers find the elusive American Dream within their reach, and fight to maintain their grip as powerful urban gangsters reap the rewards of their hard work in this sprawling Great Depression-era crime drama from director John Hillcoat (The Road, …  See more details below


Three rebellious, bootlegging brothers find the elusive American Dream within their reach, and fight to maintain their grip as powerful urban gangsters reap the rewards of their hard work in this sprawling Great Depression-era crime drama from director John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition). At the height of Prohibition, ambitious country boy Jack Bondurant dreams of becoming "Public Enemy #1" while reaping all the benefits that go with the gangster lifestyle. By expanding his family's moonshining business, he plots to launch a vast criminal empire while winning the heart of beautiful Amish girl Bertha. With his older, intimidating brother Howard by his side, Jack has the brawn to get the job done, too. But they need a strong leader to guide them -- a responsibility that falls on their eldest sibling Forrest. Stoic and stalwart, Forrest is the kind of man who holds his cards close, and places a high value on character. Meanwhile, as the three siblings rise to power while battling treachery on both sides of the law, a mysterious woman named Maggie appears out of nowhere, prompting the thoughtful Forrest to question the true price of his outlaw ways.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Typecasting is a very real phenomenon. Without an outsized amount of talent, many performers are stuck playing the same characters over and over again. If nothing else, John Hillcoat's new bootlegging drama Lawless gives Shia LaBeouf a chance to evolve his career. The Transformers star plays Jack Bondurant, the youngest and least tough of three brothers who make and sell their own illegal hooch in the Virginia countryside during the Great Depression. Middle brother Forrest (Tom Hardy) is a local legend after surviving several horrific battles in World War I -- it's believed that he can't die. Forrest is the brains as well as the cold-eyed killer of the group, while eldest brother Howard (Jason Clarke) plays burly backup. The trio run into serious problems when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) decides to use his authority to weasel in on their illegal racket and they refuse to go along with his plan -- a decision that leads to a civil war in their small community as most of the other families willingly side with the creepy Rakes. Meanwhile, Jack romances a deeply religious local girl (Mia Wasikowska) whose father disapproves of anyone trying to date his daughter -- especially a Bondurant -- and the terse Forrest has his eye on a saloon manager (Jessica Chastain). Hillcoat's ensemble of actors is uniformly good. Forrest is supposed to be larger than life, and Tom Hardy certainly has the screen presence to embody a character like that -- if we draw comparisons to the Corleone brothers, Forrest is Michael with a healthy dose of Sonny's willingness to get his hands dirty. Clarke makes Howard into a loveable oaf, smarter and sweeter than he first appears. Guy Pearce takes his conniving, scruple-free baddie to B-movie heaven. The women all make an impression, even in the midst of this very guy-centric story, but it's LaBeouf who shows us something new. He doesn't have Hardy's command of the screen, but for the first time, he's found a role that lets his boyish looks sell the character's early immaturity, and then allows him to take on some genuine dramatic gravitas. His character has the biggest arc of the film, and he carries the picture even while Hardy walks away with it. Just as he did in his adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Hillcoat creates a very specific and unnerving sense of place in Lawless. The backwoods of Virginia may be comfortable for the Bondurants, but there are so many places to hide that we often feel that anyone could ambush them at any moment. At the same time, the lush greens and golden sunlight have a painterly beauty to them. The nagging problem with the movie turns out to be its lack of ambition. The script by Nick Cave, adapted from a nonfiction book, wants to make these guys out to be some sort of American heroes, standing up for what they believe in and creating their own myth in the process. There's only one scene -- an excellent conversation between Forrest and his girlfriend -- in which these men have to consider the truth rather than their own legend. If that scene had had a more profound impact on the whole film, Lawless would have been much more complex and thematically rich. Instead, the movie settles for a well-done -- if dramatically uninteresting -- shoot-out of a finale that turns these supposed legends into conventional characters. The most famous quote from John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance comes from a newspaperman who states that when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Lawless turns out to be too enamored with the legend to focus enough on the truth.

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Product Details

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Special Features

Feature Commentary with Director John Hillcoat and Author Matt Bondurant; Deleted Scenes; The True Story of the Wettest County in the World; Franklin County, VA: Then and Now; The Story of the Bondurant Family; "Midnight Run" Willie Nelson Music Video

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Shia LaBeouf Jack Bondurant
Tom Hardy Forrest Bondurant
Jason Clarke Howard Bondurant
Guy Pearce Charley Rakes
Jessica Chastain Maggie Beauford
Mia Wasikowska Bertha Minnix
Dane DeHaan Cricket Pane
Chris McGarry Danny
Tim Tolin Mason Wardell
Gary Oldman Floyd Banner
Lew Temple Deputy Henry Abshire
Marcus Hester Deputy Jeff Richards
Bill Camp Sheriff Hodges
Alex Van Tizwell Minnix
Noah Taylor Gummy Walsh
Mark Ashworth Hophead #1
Tom Proctor Hophead #2
Bruce McKinnon Jimmy Turner
Erin Mendenhall Spoons Rivard
Toni Lynn Byrd Ida Belle
Robert T. Smith Young Jack
Jake Nash Young Forrest
William Harrison Young Howard
Joyce Baxter Aunt Winnie
Jeff Braun Doctor
Malinda Baker Young Black Girl
Tom Turbiville Goon #1
Chad Randall Mugger #1
Terry Keasler Mugger #2
Duncan Nicholson Junior
Ron Clinton Smith Bootlegger
Anna House Old Mountain Woman
Ricky Muse Bootlegger #2
Peter Krulewitch Stogie Pete

Technical Credits
John Hillcoat Director
John Allen Co-producer
Robert Ogden Barnum Executive Producer
Michael Benaroya Producer
Jason Blum Executive Producer
Matt Budman Co-producer
Nick Cave Score Composer,Screenwriter
Sharon Davis Set Decoration/Design
Benoit Delhomme Cinematographer
Kathleen Driscoll-Mohler Casting
Megan Ellison Producer
Cassian Elwes Executive Producer
Lucy Fisher Producer
Walter Gasparovic Asst. Director
Gershon Ginsburg Art Director
Scott Hanson Executive Producer
Jordan Tappis Musical Direction/Supervision
Chris Kennedy Production Designer
Francine Maisler Casting
Randy Manis Executive Producer
Robert D. Maverick Makeup
Laura Rister Executive Producer
Ben Sachs Executive Producer
David Sardy Musical Direction/Supervision
Ted Schipper Executive Producer
Rachel Shane Executive Producer
Leslie Shatz Sound/Sound Designer
Sabine Roller Taylor Makeup
Dylan Tichenor Editor
Warren Ellis Score Composer
Doug Wick Producer
Margot Wilson Costumes/Costume Designer
Dany Wolf Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Lawless
1. Scene 1 [4:36]
2. Scene 2 [4:39]
3. Scene 3 [5:22]
4. Scene 4 [7:15]
5. Scene 5 [4:38]
6. Scene 6 [7:49]
7. Scene 7 [6:41]
8. Scene 8 [7:24]
9. Scene 9 [8:14]
10. Scene 10 [8:24]
11. Scene 11 [2:26]
12. Scene 12 [3:44]
13. Scene 13 [8:08]
14. Scene 14 [5:29]
15. Scene 15 [6:48]
16. Scene 16 [5:50]
17. Scene 17 [7:04]
18. Scene 18 [4:22]


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Lawless 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
The locations were interesting, same with the characters. Heard this was good and it is. The acting especially from the main leads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beasto More than 1 year ago
lawless, is awesoem, it's got lots of action, mayhem, and suspense, it's an intense action thriller, but the only downsides are that it does drag a couple of times and gary oldman didn't have enough screentime, but still a great movie overall
katheryn More than 1 year ago
I admit that at first I was highly doubtful about this movie, but as soon as the movie started I couldn't pull my eyes away. I just couldn't wait to see what happens to the brothers and especially Forrest. Although violent and somewhat gruesome at times, it is to be expected. I was thrilled to learn that this movie is a true story. Altogether it is a must see.