Written by / 9/16/2012 / No comments / , , , , , ,

TOM HARDY SURVIVES LAWLESS

year: 2012 cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain rating: ***1/2
Fans of 1970’s cinema or television have seen this kinda story a thousand times over: backwoods siblings run moonshine and go up against the law. But this is a true story of the Bondurant brothers and how they beat the odds – and then some.

The bros couldn’t be more different: there’s the tough as nails Tom Hardy's Forrest, who can’t die no matter what’s thrown at him; Howard, the rock steady oldest; and the youngest, Jack... Shia LaBeouf in a worthy performance despite not looking "redneck" enough... who lacks guts and backbone. This is the perfect character to follow through the first half as he learns from his experienced elders how the game is played. Threatened into partnering with a crooked deputy, played with snarky bravado by Guy Pearce, the brothers decide to keep running things their way – and wind up close to dead and penniless. That’s when Jack takes the smart move (ala Al Pacino in THE GODFATHER) and joins with mobster Gary Oldman... and the money flows.

The women are gorgeous and talented but don’t do much for the story. Jessica Chastain’s subtle romance with Tom Hardy’s lethal quiet man seems more filler than Jack’s chaste courtship with the preacher’s mousy, soft-spoken daughter. But LAWLESS is all about the ultra-violence between the crooked lawmen and the “invincible” Bondurants, who hold their ground till the bloody end: although the first half, as the tension builds, packs more wallop than the somewhat gratuitous resolution. With so many antagonists, it’s tough to figure what the brother’s are fighting for, or what they’re up against, exactly. Yet Pearce makes a worthy maverick villain, and if anything else, you’ll root for his downfall alone.
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