Damn if this wasn’t an unexpectedly good gangster film.  Unbeknownst to me, Lawless told the true story of the “wettest county in the world” under Prohibition.  Three legendary brothers stand up to the corruption trying to bring them to heel.  Dirty cops, dirty feds, the original drug war is even more fascinating than current films tend to be.  Yet so many of those same issues keep rearing their heads.  Narcs on the payroll, an intractable problem, a public that votes with their wallets, not much changes.

Tom Hardy, whom I hadn’t expected much from, delivers a twisted, believably delusional hillbilly performance that works perfectly.  His character survived so many near misses that he started believing his own legend about how invincible he was.  With this bit of irrational bravado he decides to draw the line against a corrupt city lawman and his enforcer, a chillingly creepy Guy Pearce.

lawless-2012-img04 jack bertha lawless yellow dress

A couple of intertwined love stories keep the testosterone from overwhelming the thing.  Violence is realistic and harsh.  Definitely one to check out at the Redbox.

Surprise two, the screenwriter was Nick Cave, who I thought was some kind of rock star.  Lots of Aussies playing Appalachians, and pulling it off amusingly.

Shot on the Arri Alexa, which still kicks Red’s ass despite the latter having more than 4 times the resolution, the cinematography is beautiful and the locations authentic.

Bonus NSFW–

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street
http://vimeo.com/59564557

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