Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Movies: Lawless

There was a time when you could easily make money, when you could literally grow and cook it at home. This time was the US prohibition era around 1930 at the begin of the Great Depression. The legal ban on producing and distributing liquor made booze very expensive and its producers and sellers shamelessly rich.

The movie "Lawless" tells an allegedly true episode of this period in Virginia, USA (imdb). The alternative Australian rockstar Nick Cave wrote the screenplay based on a novel by Matt Bondurant. The author told the story of his ancestors who fought as liquor bootleggers against corrupt law enforcers. This war escalated into menace, torture and murdering.

"Lawless" is brutal and bloody, but also honest, intense and convincing. It shows how stubbornness and overconfidence could lead into a bloody mess.  The plot develops slowly, leaving the viewers time to dive into this period and to learn to know the involved characters.

The roughness of the plot is counterbalanced by the beauty of the pictures created by director John Hillcoat and cinematographer BenoƮt Delhomme. They let you participate in a time travel to the epoch around 1930. It`s worth watching the film more than once to detect the plenty of gorgeous visual ideas including the lush forests of Georgia where the flick was shot - an invitation to visit this state. The congenial soundtrack made the film more intense.

The actors are a defining part of the movies  pleasure. Tom Hardy, as the unofficial leader of the bootleggers, delivered one of the finest performances I have seen recently. His character radiates an almost indestructible self-confidence which made him to a kind a buddha of the prohibition period. His deep voice underlines his calmness and also contributes some goofiness to the character.

Guy Pearce as a vicious and sadistic law enforcer gives a remarkable counterpart. His eloquence and his elaborate manners gains him a lot of attraction instead of his cruelty.

Mia Wasikowska, playing the innocent daughter of a fundamentalistic preacher, showed the freshness of apeach ready to be plugged and Jessica Chastain glazed as a erotical flower in a desert of dirt. Gary Oldman, who had just a short appearance, proved one again his Oscar-nominated qualities. The rest of the cast, including Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke and Chris McGarry as parts of the bootleggers gang, complimented the high standard.

"Lawless" waked my appetite for the fall cinema season, when usually the alleged Oscar contenders make their way to the screens. They better be gorgeous to overtrump this fine movie.


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