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Lawless DVD Review

Lawless DVDDirector: John Hillcoat

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain

Running Time: 111 minutes

Certificate: 18

Extras: Commentary With Director John Hillcoat & Matt Bondurant, Lawless: The True Story Of The Wettest County In The World, Franklin County, VA: Then And Now, Willie Nelson Music Video, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

Screenwriter Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat re-team following 2005’s THE PROPOSITION – a tremendous small scale drama – with LAWLESS. Adapted from Matt Bondurant’s ‘The Wettest County In The World’, the film gives Cave and Hillcoat chance to let loose with a larger cast of characters and lots of booze.

Brothers Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke) Bondurant bootleg liquor in depression-era Virginia. When over-zealous deputy Sheriff Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives in town their business and lives are threatened like never before.

John Hillcoat’s works contain clearly defined, likeable characters and LAWLESS is no different. The brother’s, though not without fault, are enjoyable companions for a couple of hours largely thanks to great performances; LaBeouf’s Jack is believable and sympathetic – his relationship with Cricket (DeHaan) warm and humorous – and Hardy’s tough brother played with restraint gets the balance right, but this is Guy Pearce’s film. Snide, manipulative, and horribly violent, particularly when he first meets Jack, Pearce’s villainous Rakes is central to the films strengths and his presence felt even when off screen.

Working within the confines of a small town Hillcoat’s direction is tidy, fancy-free and perfectly pitched. Using point of view shots he manages to replicate the good characters claustrophobic feelings perfectly, whilst giving Rakes wide shots allowing his tailored suits to shine amongst the mundane backdrops. The one off note is Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s soundtrack, breaking tension with the pluck of a guitar far too often.

But this is nit-picking, LAWLESS is a simple story told with fantastic performances trying to be nothing else – what’s not to like?

Extras: A mediocre package with the stand out the True Story Of The Wettest County In The World which offers an insight into the history the film is based on.

4 StarsLAWLESS is available on DVD and Blu-ray from today

Sam is a bloody lovely lad born and raised in Bristol (he’s still there and can’t escape). Favourite films include THE LOST BOYS, DRIVE, FIGHT CLUB and COMMANDO, well pretty much any 1980s Arnie film you can throw his way…even RED SONJA. Sam once cancelled a Total Film subscription after they slagged off Teen Wolf. He resubscribed 2 days later.

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