From the moment the lights dim to the moment they brighten again, Lawless grabs you by your neck with the force of a drunken step-father and never lets go. This movie has a certain authenticity to it that I really appreciate. From the lush backwoods environment to the deep-fried, syrup soaked southern accents, everything feels real. At it's core, Lawless is a story about family; Four brothers to be specific, that band together when a new power threatens the family business.
To write Lawless off as merely another story about family would be an insult. The way that Nick Cave is able to weave so many different sub plots and themes into the framework of Lawless is amazing. The aspect that really take Lawless from another rag-tag shoot em' up type movie to a cinematic masterpiece, is the magic that happens when you place the engine of great dialogue into an even better vehicle of phenomenal actors. While Shia LaBeouf delivers with the same excellence that we've come to expect from him at this point in his career, for me it was Tom Hardy who was the true star in this movie.
While there aren't any one liners or breathtaking monologues by Hardy, the intimidation and uneasiness that he evokes onscreen is an amazing thing to see. While the same can be said of his stellar performance in Dark Knight, the methods that Hardy uses to accomplish this feeling are completely different. In Dark Knight, he was much more animated, theatric if you will, often using his hands, raising his voice, etc. In Lawless, he is much more quiet and reserved. 
Most of Hardy's dialogue is merely a grunt, groan, or a remark, that if not listened to carefully could easily pass for the former. Not only does he deliver his lines with an amazing since of conviction, but his ability use of silence to convey implied dialogue is uncanny. With each movie that I see Tom Hardy in, he gets that much closer to becoming my favorite actor. 

As for the rest of the cast, everyone plays their part to a tee. I really enjoyed mix of veteran heavy hitters and young rising stars. Actors like Dane DeHaan (Most notably of Chronicle), Jessica Chastain (The Help, Tree of Life), and Mia Wasikowska (Alice and Wonderland) seemed right at home in the midst of actors like Guy Pearce (Promethius, Memento, LA Confidential) and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Series, Harry Potter, The Book of Eli). That balance of old and new really gives life to a film that could've easily been average.
Lawless is definitely a must-see for anyone who enjoys movies. It's easily one of the best movies of 2012, and a movie that has instantly become one of my favorites.


  1. Great review Trent. Loved the cast, loved the action, and loved the look, but I just didn’t love the pace. Too slow at times and could have been sped up just a bit.

    1. Thanks Dan. I can see what you mean as far as the pace goes, it definitely slowed down at times. Your blog is pretty dope man, I just checked it out. You're pretty official bro.