"The Title Says It All"
What You Need To Know:
LAWLESS is exactly that, a bunch of characters violating the law, including the moral law. The characters kill, curse, and drink without any repercussions. LAWLESS also has many scenes of graphic violence, with lewd content. Guy Pearce does a fine job as the corrupt, maniacal lawman. However, the script lacks any truly interesting dialogue, discussions or character development. The basic plotline is rebellion against the law and staying alive while doing it. LAWLESS may be a high quality, big budget movie, but there’s nothing uplifting about it.
(PaPaPa, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, AAA, D, MMM) Very strong pagan worldview where characters selfishly think that they control their own destiny, without regard to any morality; at least 75 obscenities (including 36 “f” words) and 17 profanities; very strong graphic violence, man slights throat of a major character, implied: man cuts out private parts from another man, multiple bloody shootings and deaths, hand cut off, implied rapped, man stabs man in the back, man tars another man; strong sexual content includes sex outside of marriage, kissing, two implied rapes; some female nudity, male nudity seen from the back; extreme alcohol content, including illegal moonshine running and bootlegging; smoking; and, lying, stealing, seducing, blackmail, bad role models as older brother goes against the law.
A family of bootleggers sell alcohol during the Depression in the movie LAWLESS directed by John Hillcoat. LAWLESS is an extremely morally reprehensible movie with extreme violence and an immoral worldview.
The Bondurant brothers are known for their invincibility, especially Forrest Bondurant, the eldest. With an animal stature, Forrest controls fear in others and is able to protect his family and business as he sells illegal alcohol during the Depression. During this time, a beautiful young woman named Maggie comes to work for Forrest in order to get away from her showgirl life in the city. Maggie is not the only new addition to the tiny town. A maniacal government official, Special Agent Charlie Rakes, is out to kill the Bondurant brothers to stop them from bootlegging.
Rakes will do anything to hurt and destroy the brothers. His first step leads to Forrest’s throat being cut from ear to ear. In the foreshadowing of Maggie’s love for Forrest, she finds him and takes him to the hospital. A legend gets around, however, that Forrest walked miles to the hospital in a snowstorm after being cut up. Forrest also protects Maggie from Rakes. After it’s implied that Rakes rapes Maggie, Forrest takes Maggie in and allows her to stay with the brothers at the restaurant they own.
As Forrest recovers, the youngest Bondurant brother, Jack, decides to sell the alcohol himself. Though this is a highly risky move for the weak Jack in a merciless society, he persuades his friend Cricket to help him make his first delivery. Though Jack and Cricket’s lives are threatened, they are able to get out of it and sell the alcohol for more money then usual. They decide to continue in the business.
Gaining wealth and a big head, Jack tries to win the love of an innocent Amish girl, Bertha. When Jack takes Bertha to the distillery, the police follow and burn the place down. The evil Rakes kills Cricket. Jack is overcome with the desire for revenge and goes after Rakes himself, leading to bloody deaths of multiple people.
LAWLESS is exactly that, a bunch of characters not abiding by the law. This is also applied to the moral law, as the characters kill, curse, abuse, and drink without any sort of moral repercussions. The movie has many scenes of graphic violence, with strong crude content, including lots of foul language. Shia LaBeouf’s character seduces the Amish girl he likes, taking her away from her Amish community and bringing her into a world of materialism, violence and corruption.
LAWLESS does have some great acting by Guy Pearce, who plays the corrupt lawman. He portrays a maniacal character in a very real way.
Overall, LAWELESS is a high quality, high budget movie, but there’s nothing uplifting about it. The basic plotline is rebellion against the law and staying alive while doing it. Also, the script for LAWLESS lacks any truly interesting dialogue, discussions, or character development. High production values and fine acting can’t overcome such failures as these.