Lawless (dir. John Hillcoat)

Synopsis: Set during the Prohibition-era, three brothers who run a bootlegging business are threatened by authorities, who want in on their profits.

Starring: Tom Hardy,
 Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska

Release Date: August 31st

Set during the backdrop of America’s most notorious crime wave, Lawless is a Gangster/Western blend that is based on a true story. Combined with an array of acting talent (..ranging from new generation actors, to veteran actors), it seems like this could be one of the more interesting gangster films to look out for this year.

One of the many reasons why I like these type of films is because as a period drama,  they serve the duel purpose of being entertaining and historically educating. In this case, we’re looking at the Prohibition era- A time in American history that dealt with economic issues (the great depression) environmental problems (constant dust storms),  and a growing imbalance between the rich and the poor. Within the mix of these problems comes the Bonudrant Brothers – Bootlegging siblings who redefined the American dream by selling unlicensed alcohol.  What’s interesting about the Bonudrant Brothers is that they aren’t the higher class, Al Capone, Jon Dillinger type gangsters who were living wealthy lives. They’re lower-end gangsters, who remain in the backwoods, away from society. Falling into the poorer category of society, these are the type of men who are ultimately willing to suffer the consequences of violence in order to become successful.

What makes this stand out to me is that most gangster films these days tend to be action-driven. Lawless will place a stronger focus on the characters, who have been described as being richly defined and therefore, more  engaging with the audience. To break it down briefly, Tom Hardy is playing Forrest Bondurant, the quintessential “quiet leader” who has taken on the patriarchal responsibilities of the family. Hardy is definitely a good choice, as he shows a lot of range as an actor. According to the director, John Hillcoat, Hardy wanted to explore the softer side of Forrest’s character, allowing for more emotional depth. Shia LaBeouf plays Jack Bondurant, the youngest of the brother and also the more wilder one of the three. As stated by Hillcoat, Jack is described as someone “who experiences every single emotion, from rage and despair to total joy and happiness”. Although I find Shia annoying at times, he shows a lot of energy as an actor and thats the type of presence  needed for the younger and more naive of the siblings. (Below, I’ll provide an info chart that I found, which describes the character’s more in detail).

I think the film’s title goes beyond the Bonudrant Brothers being lawless criminals. We’ll also see how the authority figures during that time period were also corrupt and willing to bend the rules in order to find the American dream (…err, their own version of it).


If your interested, check out the director of the film, John Hillcoat. His last two films (The Proposition and The Road) are awesome and I would highly suggest them! If you want to find out more about him here’s his IMDB link.


…Here’s some information regarding the characters.

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