When it's over, Lawless is based on the true story of the three Bondurant brothers, who were bootleggers in Franklin County, Virginia, during the depression-era. Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy), and Howard (Jason Clarke) stake a local monopoly selling moonshine, but when competition elbows in, including a crooked deputy (Guy Pierce), the family business gets bloody messy. The problem with this film was chemistry between the brothers. There wasn't any. The brothers shared no physical similarities, not even their hair color. There were a lot of scenes with the brothers, but none of them conveyed the strength of brotherhood. Frankly, I didn't really care for either Jack or Howard. The filmmakers tried to achieve brotherly camaraderie in the final scene, but without a solid chemistry build-up, the scene doesn't work on an emotional level and served only to offer a conclusion to the story. Their personalities were extreme opposites. I liked that aspect, and felt the film should have exploited that aspect more aggressively. LaBeouf didn't look the part of a southern boy, nor was his character the right voice to narrate the story. He was not convincing as the youngest brother who goes from timid to proving his worth. I think I would be more interested in seeing the story unfold through Howard's view as he goes from reckless drunk to sober. I liked Hardy as the oldest brother. He pulled off the demeanor, the swagger, and the unspoken authority people feared about Forrest. The love story between Forrest and Maggie (Jessica Chastain) was an effective inclusion as a side story. It showed a softer side to Forrest and offered a female perspective on the hardships of the era. Despite the film's shortcomings, I still enjoyed the film, thanks to Hardy's, Chastain's, and Pierce's performances.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5