REVIEW: Lawless

Starring Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf as the Bondurant brothers, Lawless takes place during the Great Depression in Franklin County, Va. Based on the true story of a family run bootlegging gang that faces challenges when a ruthless special agent named Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) uses violence to coerce the bootleggers of Franklin County under his control.

Although Forrest Bondurant (Hardy) is in charge of their bootlegging outfit, the youngest brother Jack (Labeouf) wants to take part in the family business. Although Lawless chronicles historical events, it also displays the transformation of Jack, who starts out as a boy who idolizes the infamous mobster Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman), into a man who can protect his family from the Rakes’ violence.

The use of violence in the film is quite prominent, from cutting throats to feathering and tarring, Lawless is packed with gruesome violence. Forrest punches people across bars and is called “invincible” because he has survived pretty much everything life has thrown at him from diseases to gang violence, no one has ever taken him down. When Forrest comes into contact with Rakes, it is the unrelenting force and the immovable wall, Rakes is a man a precision, with a great darkness inside. While Rakes has a clean and tidy exterior his inner motives to control the bootleggers involves torture and merciless beatings. Both Forrest and Rakes are impeccably recreated by Hardy and Pearce.

Lawless is definitely worth a trip to the theater. Although more actions than words are spoken, it is a powerful film about family and standing up against corruption. The Bondurant brothers inspired their county as well as the audience in the theater.