Lawless (USA, 2012)

lawless-poster-hitfixDirected by: John Hillcoat. Having been a pretty huge fan of The Proposition and its excellent casting, its unique Australian productional voice, and The Road (which I didn’t like as much, but it pretty much put him on the map), I think I’m basically what you would call a John Hillcoat “fan.” I read about this movie around the same time as Killing Them Softly, by another great Australian, Andrew Dominik, and I got excited about both at the same time. I did read a few pretty disparaging reviews, and I guess I can see that. This is not a great movie. But it’s a pretty good movie, and it’s pretty satisfying to watch if you like any of these actors—Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Noah Taylor—or if you’re interested in the legacy of modern gangster movies, or if you’re interested in the Prohibition, or if you like watching handsome men in fedora hats with Southern accents. Irregardless, it’s a really enjoyable way to spend two hours. I didn’t find Guy Pearce’s corrupt, big-city lawman a horrendously unwatchable homophobic caricature like many other reviewers did. I thought that overall, the conflict was pretty blatant and unsubtle and fairly cartoonish. Guy Pearce is so evil, and the conflict is so straightforward, which I guess I still can’t swallow in movies, no matter how escapist they are supposed to be. Shia Labeouf does the thing he does—acts well enough to make you think he’s not a half bad actor, and he just might out-act his way past the stupid Transformers and Even Stevens reputation he still has in my mind. Also, it was nice to see a new face pop up again, Jason Clarke from Zero Dark Thirty. He’s pretty good! There’s something about the quality of his face, his voice (a convincing accent—I had no idea he was an Aussie!), all of that stuff. I don’t know. Everything here is pretty interesting, if not amazing. Gary Oldman’s character, his whole world, is so fascinating, and it’s criminally underused here, especially because of the tantalizingly amazing Noah Taylor. Those moustaches!!! Oh well. I’d definitely recommend this thing if you’re into this kind of thing.

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One response to “Lawless (USA, 2012)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2013 | Offhand Reviews·

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