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Lawless

By MATTHEW SINGER
Here is Australian director John Hillcoat’s idea of a good time: a Prohibition-era period piece about a real-life clan of Virginia bootleggers, in which throats are slashed with knives and crushed with brass knuckles, a cripple gets his neck snapped, a man is scalded by hot tar, and at least one pair of testicles are cut off, packaged and left on a doorstep. If only a puppy had gotten kicked down a flight of stairs, then we’d really have a swinging party on our hands! But seriously, folks. In an oeuvre defined by overbearing bleakness—this is the guy who thought The Road would make a great movie—Lawless is the most easily digestible of Hillcoat’s bitter pills. Based on the book The Wettest County in the World, author Matt Bondurant’s investigation into his family’s history as outlaw moonshiners, the film blends truth and myth into the kind of crowd-pleasing, Western-style thriller that used to get Kevin Costner nominated for Oscars back in the ’90s. Adapted by musician Nick Cave, who wrote Hillcoat’s masterful outback Western The Proposition, it’s still got the filmmaker’s stamp of brutality (need I remind you of the thing with the testicles?). But for him, this is a popcorn flick.
 
  • Genres: Crime drama
  • Running Time: 115 minutes
  • Release Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Some Sexuality/Nudity, Strong Bloody Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Shia LaBeouf [Jack Bondurant], Tom Hardy [Forrest Bondurant], Jason Clarke [Howard Bondurant], Guy Pearce [Charley Rakes], Jessica Chastain [Maggie Beauford], Mia Wasikowska [Bertha Minnix], Dane DeHaan [Cricket Pate], Chris McGarry [Danny], Tim Tolin [Mason Wardell], Gary Oldman [Floyd Banner], Lew Temple [Deputy Henry Abshire], Marcus Hester [Deputy Jeff Richards], Bill Camp [Sheriff Hodges], Alex Van [Tizwell Minnix], Noah Taylor [Gummy Walsh]
  • Directed by: John Hillcoat [Director], Nick Cave [Screenwriter], Douglas Wick [Producer], Lucy Fisher [Producer], Megan Ellison [Producer], Michael Benaroya [Producer], Dany Wolf [Executive Producer], Rachel Shane [Executive Producer], Jason Blum [Executive Producer], Scott Hanson [Executive Producer], Cassian Elwes [Executive Producer], Laura Rister [Executive Producer], Robert Barnum [Executive Producer], Ted Schipper [Executive Producer], Randy Manis [Executive Producer], Ben Sachs [Executive Producer], Benoît Delhomme [Cinematographer], Dylan Tichenor [Film Editor], Nick Cave [Original Music], Warren Ellis [Original Music], Chris Kennedy [Production Design], Gershon Ginsburg [Art Director], Maria Nay [Set Decoration], Margot Wilson [Costume Designer], Francine Maisler [Casting], Kathleen Driscoll-Mohler [Casting]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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