Kit, Ellie and I decided to take advantage of 'Orange Wednesday' and hit the flicks ... the trouble was, what to see. So, with no great enthusiasm we trailed off to see 'Lawless': I'm no great fan of Shia LaBeouf and I wasn't in the mood for something the trailer suggested was just a gangster movie.
How wrong I was!
Set during the Prohibition Era, in sum the story (screen adaptation by Nick Cave) relates how the three hick Bondurant brothers become the preeminent bootleggers in Franklin County, their position threatened when a Special Detective Rakes (played by a brilliant Guy Pearce) arrives on the scene demanding a cut of the profits. Led by the uncompromisingly thuggish elder brother, Forrest (wonderfully portrayed with monosylabbic intensity by Tom hardy), the three resist which, of course, result in lots and lots of violence.
In the wrong hands this could have degenerated into just an excuse for murder and mayhem, but the script treats the violence almost as an aside, the thrust of the story revolving around the relationship between Forrest and Maggie, the 'girl trying to escape a troubled past'; Forrest and Jack his younger brother and 'the runt of the litter'; and between Jack and the preacher's daughter, Bertha. It is the way these strands intertwine and develop that gives 'Lawless' its power and it's emotional bite.
It's a story helped by some first-class performances but, remarkably, the stand-out is Shia LaBeouf. In a truly remarkable turn he manages to convincingly portray vulnerability, frustration and exasperation. This guy can act!
Not an easy film to watch at times (the throat-cutting scene was particularly gruesome), but certainly the best thing I've seen this year by miles. The girls concur, and these are young ladies not enamoured to shoot-'em-ups.
A very well deserved 8/10.