I didn’t like it.
Surprised, right? Lawless has more than enough to reel me in. It’s a period piece, it’s directed by John Hillcoat (The Road– which was fantastic, by the way) and above all it has Tom Hardy in it. When people started sending me trailers I thought, “Well, I kind of have to see that.”
And now I have, but truth is I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand some of the plot, all of the needless, unprovoked beatings, the mumbled dialogue or why that naked lady was running along the highway, but… hey, let’s try to be optimistic here. I’m going to dwell on what I did like, so here it is, in no particular order:
1) Gary Oldman
2) Tom Hardy
3) Brass Knuckles
First of all, Gary Oldman. Because Gary Oldman.
Secondly, Tom Hardy. As Forrest Bondurant he plays an authoritative, soft-spoken but threatening guy who commands every scene he’s in. In short, he is Lawless‘s resident badass. He was also the only character I was emotionally invested in. When he wasn’t onscreen I lost interest, which was way too often. Waaaaay too often.
When I saw the preview it looked like his character was going to die a horrible, bloody death. Turns out I was only half right. Forrest keeps trying to die a horrible, bloody death but the movie won’t let him. Cutting his throat or pumping full him of lead are minor setbacks, like getting his tonsils removed or clipping a hangnail. This only makes his “eventual” death at the end of the film more painful because it’s THE LAMEST I HAVE EVER SEEN. Seriously, he just wanders onto a frozen lake and gets a cold one day? That’s the opposite of badass, and gives Lawless one of the most poorly written endings of all time.
This isn’t to say that I walked away from the experience empty handed. Halfway through the movie I wrote my mother and amended my Christmas list. All I want are brass knuckles, just like the ones Tom Hardy uses to end boring conversations.
(Sing-song) Yes, all I want are brass knuckles…
Basically, I WANT ALL THE BRASS KNUCKLES. Let it rain brass knuckles, for God’s sake. They would be the perfect stocking stuffer.
Would I recommend watching Lawless in the end? Sure, go ahead. Shia LaBeouf doesn’t say “NoNoNoNoNoNoNo” all the time and his performance is serviceable. This movie not working isn’t his fault. In fact, I’d say it’s a step in the right direction for him.
You will also see plenty of unnecessary violence, if that’s your kind of thing. I think this movie and Drive should go on a cruise, fall in love and make babies. Really… so much creative, unprovoked, bone-crushing violence.
I kid you not- someone gets stabbed in the anus before the credits roll. After seeing that I said, “Man, Nick Cave is one sick bastard.”