Being bad is very good in John Hillcoat’s ‘Lawless’
Directed John Hillcoat
Written by Nick Cave
In 2006, the creative filmmaking duo of John Hillcoat, director, and Nick Cave, screenwriter, floored many a serious movie goer with their brutal, cold, austere period piece The Proposition. Set in the turn of the 20th century, the emotionally and graphically violent piece had Australian star Guy Pearce in the lead role as the most sensible of three criminal brothers, caught between a rock and a hard place by small town sheriff Ray Winstone, as he is tasked with tracking down an killing his own brother, played by Danny Huston. The film played up the idea of a tightly knit band of outlaws whose name recognition attained legendary status, striking fear in the heart of any who hear it. Now, in 2012, the same team behind the camera gives audiences a spiritual sequel of sorts with the prohibition era thriller, Lawless.
It is the early 1930s in the beautiful Virginian country. The land of the land forbids the sale of alcohol but words written down on paper by some stuffy white collar folk carry little weight when set against the entrepreneurship and working class grit of the Bondurant brothers, Forrest (Tom Hardy), the de facto leader of the band, Howard (Jason Clark) and the youngest, Jack (Shia LeBoeuf). Selling alcohol is their bread and butter, bootlegging cases deep into the night, coupled with a swell little diner deep in the heart of Virginia, spruced up with the hiring of the lovely Maggie (Jessica Chastain). The name ‘Bondurant’ carries a lot of weight around these parts, with locals, with the odd mixture of gullibility and exaggerated stories giving birth to the crazy notion that the brothers, in particular the stocky, leather voiced Forrest, are literally invincible. The older brothers are the brain and brawn of the family business while Jack, along with vying for the heart of a preacher’s daughter (Mia Wasikowska), helps them out while trying to set up his own small enterprise. The challenge to their aura of invulnerability arrives from Chicago in the form of Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce), who looks to put an end to their independence and, provided he gets the chance, prove that they can be killed.