Lawless (BLU-RAY)


On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 55 Minutes
Did You Know?

The movie is based on actual events, as explained in the book "The Wettest County in the World" (2008) written by Matt Bondurant. Matt Bondurant is the grandson of Jack Bondurant, the character played by Shia LaBeouf in the film. ~IMDB

John Hillcoat (The Road) and Nick Cave (The Proposition) team up for the third time to bring Matt Bondurant’s novel “The Wettest County In The World” to life on the big screen. The film stars Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) as Forrest Bondurant, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers Trilogy) as Jack Bondurant, and Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) as Howard Bondurant, three brothers running a bootleg trade in Franklin County, Virginia. It’s the depression era and prohibition is in effect, but most of the families in Virginia operate a bootlegging business of their own. With even the cops on board things have been running pretty smoothly.

Enter Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce; Lockout), a law enforcement agent from Chicago who has come to the hills of Virginia to make sure Uncle Sam gets his piece of the pie and that the locals know their place. Rakes is a vicious brute who knows the locals are beneath him and who will use whatever tactic necessary to control the hills. Obviously the two forces will have to come to a head.

Lawless is a no brainer, what with Elmore Leonard’s country hills drama Justified garnering such high praise on television and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire getting people interested in prohibition era gangster stories, not to mention History Channel’s recent retelling of the Hatfield & McCoy’s blood feud. Bootleggers themselves. Interest has never been greater for this kind of film to exist. So how was it?

I enjoyed every second of it. The film is violent, has a slow evolving story for Jack Bondurant that includes his growth from a punk to a hard case and a love story to boot. Pearce does a fantastic job as a very strange, but obviously mad psychopathic agent. Hardy manages to make his character something of a mystery throughout the film. He’s a knuckle bruiser, but intelligent. A real man’s man, but kind of an idiot around the ladies. It's hard to get a real bead on him, but he does provide an enjoyable element to the film that keeps you watching. Jason Clarke is kind of a background character, a bit psychopath himself, but really an obedient player in the story that you never really get to invested in. Finally, the locations look tremendous on Blu-Ray and the sets authentic, really drawing you into the era.

Other names that pop up in the film are Gary Oldman (The Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy) as Pretty Boy Floyd Banner, Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) as Forrest‘s love interest, Mia Wasikowski (Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland) as Jack’s love interest, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Cricket Pate, and Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) as one of Floyd Banner’s Goons.

Lawless comes to you with a nearly perfect picture. The real issues that I had with the picture come in on the wide out shots. Wide out shots had the tendency to allow the closer objects to the camera to obtain a small amount of blur or the smaller objects, be it cars or people, that had more distance from the camera, to look a bit soft around the edges. Another issue with the wide out shots is that a small amount of grain would become apparent in the picture. Grain, not so noticeable, but when the picture went soft or blurry, even at the slightest, because the rest of the film looks so fantastic, it was hard not to notice. There was one scene where a tweed jacket appeared to suffer from a dose of aliasing. Other then that Lawless is one for the collection.

~Deleted Scenes: Six to be exact, all running under a total of 8 minutes.
~Lawless - The True Story of The Wettest County In the World: Interviews with Cast, Nick Cave, and John Hillcoat on the film, it’s setting, plus some photo’s.
~Franklin County, Virginia: Then and Now
~The Story of the Bondurant Family: Who better to tell it then Matt Bondurant, author of the novel the film is based on and Bondurant family member. Short (12:44) but informative.
~Music Video: Willie Nelson’s Midnight Run
~Digital Copy, Sadly it’s for iTunes and not an Ultraviolet copy, DVD, and Blu-Ray versions.


AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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