In 1931, in Franklyn County, Virginia, Forrest Bondurant is a legend as immortal after surviving the war. Together with his brothers Howard and the coward Jack, the Bondurant family has a distillery and bootlegging business. When the corrupt District Attorney Mason Wardell arrives in Franklyn with the unscrupulous Special Deputy Charles Rakes, the Bondurant family refuses to pay the required bribe to the authorities. Rakes pursuits the brothers and unsuccessfully tries to find their distillery. Meanwhile Forrest hires the waitress Maggie, a woman with a hidden past in Chicago, and they fall in love with each other. Jack courts the preacher's daughter Bertha Minnix and deals a great load of alcoholic liquor with the powerful gangster Floyd Banner. Jack shows off in Franklyn attracting the attention of Rakes that finds the location of their distillery. When he kills the crippled Cricket Pate, the locals join forces to face the corrupt authorities. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It's been a long time since I've seen such a good gangster flick. While movies like American Gangster and Puclic Enemies has left me disappointed, this certainly shines as a bright light in the genre. But this is not your typically gangster flick, although it's set in the prohibition era.
The movie follows the 3 Bondurant brothers back in the 1930's, in a small county, who produced moonshine and sold it illegally. The youngest brother Jack(Shia Lebeouf) desperately struggles to become a part of the family business and gain acceptance as an equal to his brothers. The quiet and very menacing Forrest(Tom Hardy) runs the show and basically see's himself and his brothers as immortals. This all changes when a Deputy called Rakes(Guy Pearce) comes to the county with the promise of bringing the brothers business to it's knee's.
Tom Hardy is amazing as Forrest Bondurant and once again delivers a fantastic performance. He really knows how to immerse himself into a character and make it stand out as something special. This is also unquestionably the greatest performance from Shia Lebeouf, who steps out of the shadow of the Transformers series and finally plays a character with a lot more soul to it. Guy Pearce steals the show as the over-the-top Deputy Rakes. He is definitely one of the best villains ever to hit the big screen and it's amazing to watch him and the Bondurant brothers going up against each other. Gary Oldman also features as mobster Floyd Banner, and although it's a minor character, he does have some epic scenes in the movie. Actually there's really no bad performances in this movie.
The movie itself mostly sets a dark tone, but it does contain some fun and bright moments. It has a lot of on-screen violence and a couple of scenes ain't for the faint hearted. But this is not an Avengers-action type of flick, it has it's slow moments with a love themed side-story, but i never felt that it took me too far away from the main plot. I only have one complaint about one of the last scenes in the movie, but I won't spoil it for you. Besides it's not a deal breaker in any way, I still love the movie. I've never been a big fan of John Hillcoat, but this is definitely his masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this!
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