19 May 2012 4:31 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

John Hillcoat's moonshine drama looks handsome but its cocktail of violence and sentimentality sticks in the throat

John Hillcoat's Lawless is far closer in spirit to his Outback Western, The Proposition, than his more recent, harrowing film, The Road. Lawless is based on the avowedly true story of the Bondurant brothers in Franklin Country, Virginia, running illicit liquor throughout the prohibition era from their own stills way up in the hills, and fighting battles with corrupt cops and feds, all greedy for a slice of the hooch profits.

Lawless is a handsome-looking film, with a reasonably winning lead performance from Shia Labeouf. But it's basically a smug, empty exercise in macho-sentimental violence in which we are apparently expected to root for the lovable good ol' boys, as they mumble, shoot, punch and stab. Our heroes manage to ensnare the affections of preposterously exquisite young women, and the final »

- Peter Bradshaw

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