Aneesh Chaganty

Lawless | MAD Review

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2012 at 2:23 AM



(2012, US, d. John Hillcoat)

Though not a film that deserved the 10-minute standing ovation it received at the Cannes Film Festival this summer, Lawless is still one of the year’s best. The same way director John Hillcoat immersed us into the post-apocolyptic world of The Road, he immerses us in the Illinois countryside of the Prohibition-era.

Featuring a star-studded cast you really can’t go wrong with, Lawless isn’t a story we haven’t seen before. It’s just a story that hasn’t been done this well in a long time. It’s an action film that doesn’t rely on its action to keep audiences interested. The real interest in the film comes from the relationship of the three Bondurant brothers – each one starkly different than the next.

A true story, Lawless depicts the conflict between the ‘moon-shinin’ Bondurants and the law that tries to stop them. Told from the perspective of the youngest brother (played by Shia LaBeouf), this coming-of-age film chronicles the romance, tragedy, humor, and “cool” of being an outlaw. Underscored (almost wall-to-wall) with an engaging soundtrack, Lawless is a carefully plotted and deftly executed action-drama. I recommend it. 

I guess my biggest disappointment with this film comes from the fact that I expected something more. Something deeper. Something more poignant. What I ended up getting was a very thoughtful, albeit very “Hollywood” story of gangsters, moon-shining, and the law. But if that’s really my biggest fault with this film, there’s not much more to criticize about it. 

Except the fact that it got a 10 minute standing ovation at Cannes. 


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