login | register |


When the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes. 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by John Hillcoat 
Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce  
An image from Lawless

It’s Prohibition-era Virginia and the infamous Bondurant brothers - intimidating and seemingly indestructible Forrest (Tom Hardy), heavy drinker Howard (Jason Clarke) and the eager and animated Jack (Shia LaBeouf) - rule the moonshining trade. But this cosy operation is threatened when Special Deputy Rakes (Guy Pearce) arrives on their well-established territory to ‘clean things up’.

One of the defining strengths of Lawless is its beauty. Visually captivating, you are not left for a moment believing you are anywhere other than depression hit rural Virginia. It is also cinematographically stunning, which (you will soon come to realise) is important in counterbalancing the gruesome violence that is ingrained into the plot; this juxtaposition of beauty and gore makes it gritty and morbidly fascinating - no matter how weak stomached you are, you’ll sit through the shooting, stabbing and throat-slitting, and then deal with your queasy gut later.

Needless to say, the cast impeccably shoulder the weight of their respective characters and their situations - rather than simply portraying their characters, they become them. The decision to cast Hardy and Pearce to flesh out two of the most significant roles was a commendable one; these two men are powerful forces standing for opposite sides. Pearce is in so little of the film and his scenes are often somewhat short, but his convincing characterisation of the ruthless and sadistic Rake makes the short snippets of him extremely impactful. And then there’s Hardy. Hardy’s talent is often taken for granted, but his role in Lawless as the rough and rugged anti-hero will surely change this; his menacing onscreen presence dominates the cinema, making him undoubtedly the single most memorable feature—and anchor— of this production.

Combing the best of the Western, Gangster (and perhaps a hint of the Romance) genres, Lawless encompasses beauty and brutality, bringing to you the sepia-toned starkness of the dark side of the moonshine.

Fatima Hammad

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)