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Lawless (2012)

R | | Crime, Drama | 29 August 2012 (USA)
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Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

Director:

John Hillcoat

Writers:

Nick Cave (screenplay), Matt Bondurant (novel)
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Popularity
1,570 ( 165)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shia LaBeouf ... Jack Bondurant
Tom Hardy ... Forrest Bondurant
Jason Clarke ... Howard Bondurant
Guy Pearce ... Charlie Rakes
Jessica Chastain ... Maggie Beaufort
Mia Wasikowska ... Bertha Minnix
Dane DeHaan ... Cricket Pate
Chris McGarry ... Danny
Tim Tolin Tim Tolin ... Mason Wardell
Gary Oldman ... Floyd Banner
Lew Temple ... Deputy Henry Abshire
Marcus Hester ... Deputy Jeff Richards
Bill Camp ... Sheriff Hodges
Alex Van ... Tizwell Minnix
Noah Taylor ... Gummy Walsh
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Storyline

In 1931, in Franklin County, Virginia, Forrest Bondurant is a legend as immortal after surviving the war. Together with his brothers Howard and the coward Jack, the Bondurant family has a distillery and bootlegging business. When the corrupt District Attorney Mason Wardell arrives in Franklin with the unscrupulous Special Deputy Charles Rakes, the Bondurant family refuses to pay the required bribe to the authorities. Rakes pursues the brothers and unsuccessfully tries to find their distillery. Meanwhile Forrest hires the waitress Maggie, a woman with a hidden past in Chicago, and they fall in love with each other. Jack courts the preacher's daughter Bertha Minnix and deals a great load of alcoholic liquor with the powerful gangster Floyd Banner. Jack shows off in Franklin attracting the attention of Rakes that finds the location of their distillery. When he kills the crippled Cricket Pete, the locals join forces to face the corrupt authorities. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Promised Land See more »

Filming Locations:

Woodbury, Georgia USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,001,566, 2 September 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$37,400,127, 29 November 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$53,676,580, 29 November 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson were originally cast, but the movie was shut down, and Jessica Chastain eventually got the role. See more »

Goofs

When Jack and Cricket are driving with the truck full of moonshine, the amount of crates in the back of the truck changes several times. See more »

Quotes

Maggie Beauford: Are you Forrest Bondurant? I'm Maggie Beauford.
See more »

Alternate Versions

9 seconds of gory violence were removed for an R rating in the US. The film was released uncut internationally (including Canada). See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.193 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

White Light/White Heat
Written by Lou Reed
Performed by Ralph Stanley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Commercial Considerations Let It Down
11 July 2013 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

Prohibition in rural Virginia means bootleggers and moonshiners can make a lot of money producing liqueur . The Bondurant brothers are amongst the most successful moonshiners in the state . Their industry is under threat from Special Deputy Charley Rakes who will do anything to bring down the Bondurant brothers

I wouldn't say I enjoyed director John Hillcoat's previous work since they're a bit too painfully gloomy , downbeat and nihilistic to be enjoyed but I did respect his films . Here he has made his most commercial and accessible film featuring the tried and tested genre of the gangster film which is always popular with the public . Based upon the book The Wettest County In The World by Matt Bondurant . Hillcoat has made a film with commercial appeal but has probably made it a bit too commercial for the American box office for it to be a truly hard hitting and memorable film that the director is known for

The battle lines are drawn far too black and white . The Bondurants are merely following the business of America which is business and the fact that they're filling a market that due to the stupidity of politicians is an illegal market is neither here nor there because they are essentially real life American Robin Hoods risking , life , limb and liberty to keep ordinary Americans in home made apple brandy . Every businessman needs an enemy and this enemy is the American federal government who have employed Special Deputy Charley Rakes who isn't really interested in upholding the law but does the job because it involves torture and murder . Try and think of the Sheriff of Nottingham fused with a torturer from a Latin American fascist dictatorship played in a manner by Guy Pearce that suggests he thinks he's still appearing in pantomime at Preston Guild Hall and you've got the idea where this might be going wrong

You are left with the impression that Hillcoat is pulling out all the stops to give this commercial appeal . Not only are the good guys a bit too good , the bad guys a bit too bad leaving the audience in no doubt who to cheer for but is also trying to make a film trying to appeal to both teenagers and a female audience . We get a charming - it says here - coming of age story about Jack Bondurant who has fallen in love with a girl from the Amish church and we get a subplot about a romance between Forrest Bondurant and Maggie Beauford . In other words the story loses focus and is trying to do too much

This is a pity because LAWLESS is an impressive film in parts . The disgracefully underrated Tom Hardy just about the most impressive actor in the world in the last couple of years is good in the role of Forrest and does manage to flesh out his role as just being a misunderstood good guy . The cinematography is beautiful and Hillcoat does manage to paint a convincing picture of both time and place . That said you are still left with the impression Hillcoat is trying a bit too hard to make the film be a massive box office success and one wishes he'd stuck to his guns and made a movie involving a lot more dubious morality and nihilism that the director had done in GHOSTS OF THE CIVIL DEAD , THE PROPOSITION and THE ROAD


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