Based on the true story of the bootlegging Bondurant brothers, "Lawless" is a quietly gorgeous film that will appeal to the testosterone junkies and history buffs alike. Directed by John Hillcoat ("The Road"), the film stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke as the Bondurant brotherhood who have the most lucrative bootlegging business in Franklin County, Virginia. Along with Jessica Chastain as the new gal in town and Guy Pearce as the slimy special deputy who wants a piece of the action, things go out of control when Jack (LaBeouf) goes rogue with a gangster played by Gary Oldman which leads to an infamous showdown at a covered bridge.
Performances are spot on (although I had to use subtitles to catch all the drawl-heavy dialogue) and the look of the film is truly breathtaking. From the widescreen shots of Virginia in the fall to a nighttime snowfall, it truly is a gorgeous picture. Blu-ray only makes this more impressive. The story can be a bit dry from time to time and it's certainly a man's-man movie with nary a bit of humor. Mia Wasikowska as Jack's love interest Bertha and Chastain as Hardy's bring a bit of a love story in to temper the tough-guy goings-on. What makes it even more interesting, however, are the Special Features.
They include Feature commentary with Director John Hillcoat and Author Matt Bondurant (the grandson of Jack Bondurant that wrote the novel "The Wettest County in the World" on which the film was based), Deleted Scenes, and "Midnight Run" a Willie Nelson Music Video.
But by far the most fascinating are the details of the true story, much of which is told by Matt Bondurant, in three featurettes: "The True Story of the Wettest County in the World", "Franklin County, VA: Then and Now", and "The Story of the Bondurant Family." Through pictures of the real Bondurants (many of which are reenacted within the film) and with a visit to Franklin County, these short features expand on the Bondurant story making the sometimes unbelievable legend of the boys come to life.