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Lawless (2012)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  29 August 2012 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 147,104 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 259 user | 332 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tim Tolin ...
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Deputy Jeff Richards
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Sheriff Hodges
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Tizwell Minnix
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 August 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Promised Land  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,001,566 (USA) (31 August 2012)

Gross:

$37,397,291 (USA) (21 November 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ryan Gosling, Scarlett Johansson, and Michael Shannon were originally slated to top line the project together with Shia LaBeouf. See more »

Goofs

Special Deputy Rake assaults Jack and repeatedly punches him on the left side of the face however later on for the rest of the time that the bruises are visible they are located on the right side of his face. See more »

Quotes

Forrest Bondurant: I thought I walked.
See more »


Soundtracks

Fire in the Blood
Written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Performed by The Bootleggers
Featuring Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris appears courtesy of Nonesuch Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Commercial Considerations Let It Down
11 July 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Prohibition in rural Virginia means bootleggers and moonshiners can make a lot of money producing liqueur . The Bondurant brothers are amongst the most successful moonshiners in the state . Their industry is under threat from Special Deputy Charley Rakes who will do anything to bring down the Bondurant brothers

I wouldn't say I enjoyed director John Hillcoat's previous work since they're a bit too painfully gloomy , downbeat and nihilistic to be enjoyed but I did respect his films . Here he has made his most commercial and accessible film featuring the tried and tested genre of the gangster film which is always popular with the public . Based upon the book The Wettest County In The World by Matt Bondurant . Hillcoat has made a film with commercial appeal but has probably made it a bit too commercial for the American box office for it to be a truly hard hitting and memorable film that the director is known for

The battle lines are drawn far too black and white . The Bondurants are merely following the business of America which is business and the fact that they're filling a market that due to the stupidity of politicians is an illegal market is neither here nor there because they are essentially real life American Robin Hoods risking , life , limb and liberty to keep ordinary Americans in home made apple brandy . Every businessman needs an enemy and this enemy is the American federal government who have employed Special Deputy Charley Rakes who isn't really interested in upholding the law but does the job because it involves torture and murder . Try and think of the Sheriff of Nottingham fused with a torturer from a Latin American fascist dictatorship played in a manner by Guy Pearce that suggests he thinks he's still appearing in pantomime at Preston Guild Hall and you've got the idea where this might be going wrong

You are left with the impression that Hillcoat is pulling out all the stops to give this commercial appeal . Not only are the good guys a bit too good , the bad guys a bit too bad leaving the audience in no doubt who to cheer for but is also trying to make a film trying to appeal to both teenagers and a female audience . We get a charming - it says here

  • coming of age story about Jack Bondurant who has fallen in love with


a girl from the Amish church and we get a subplot about a romance between Forrest Bondurant and Maggie Beauford . In other words the story loses focus and is trying to do too much

This is a pity because LAWLESS is an impressive film in parts . The disgracefully underrated Tom Hardy just about the most impressive actor in the world in the last couple of years is good in the role of Forrest and does manage to flesh out his role as just being a misunderstood good guy . The cinematography is beautiful and Hillcoat does manage to paint a convincing picture of both time and place . That said you are still left with the impression Hillcoat is trying a bit too hard to make the film be a massive box office success and one wishes he'd stuck to his guns and made a movie involving a lot more dubious morality and nihilism that the director had done in GHOSTS OF THE CIVIL DEAD , THE PROPOSITION and THE ROAD


20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Prohibition ended in 1930. This movie is set in 1931. DUMB! richard-j-wilson
Tom Hardy's voice the_spiral
So much hate towards this great movie! trikee1
what happend to maggie at that night? sanjoydevil
Did women drive back then??? jdelacruz07
Hooked, Tom Hardy is awesome! jenola67
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