(2012)

Critic Reviews

58

Metascore

Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
The action is, overall, as exciting as the primary performances are impressive.
80
If Lawless doesn't achieve the mythic dimensions of the truly great outlaw and gangster movies, it is a highly entertaining tale set in a vivid milieu, told with style and populated by a terrific ensemble.
80
As rollicking and rough as a drive down a dirt road with no suspension, Lawless is a tale of three-bootlegging brothers from Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia, who are, in the words of one character, some "hard-ass crackers."
75
Hillcoat and Cave give us more than an action story. They create a world.
75
Hardy, speaking in low, flat, almost musically macho tones, has the bruiser charisma of a caveman Kevin Costner. It's not the money he's clinging to - it's the freedom.
75
A story of entrepreneurship, of family, of fighting for one's rights - the right to make white lightning, and money. It's as American as apple pie.
75
The strength of the cast assembled by Australian-born director John Hillcoat is eye-opening.
75
Lawless may be full of half-hearted overtures toward depth and emotional complexity, but the film's prestige sheen is mostly a sham; the real focus here is the irrepressible lure of bad behavior.
70
Wall Street Journal
Lawless is one of those films that, through seeming serendipity, has a cast that defines its moment. There have been others - "The Breakfast Club," "The Godfather" and "Silverado," to name one irrelevant and two relevant examples. But Lawless really lucked out.
63
Lawless is a solid outlaw adventure, but you can feel it straining for a greatness that stays out of reach. There's even a prologue and an epilogue, arty tropes signifying an attempt to make a Godfather-style epic out of these moonshine wars. Not happening.
50
USA Today
So stunningly photographed that the blood that spurts early and often in this grisly period piece is extra-vivid red. But that hardly makes the Prohibition-era story of a trio of bootlegging brothers feel authentic.
40
For a movie about moonshine, something so imaginatively made, mood-altering and once violently sought-after, it goes down way too blandly.

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