30 August 2012

Brothers in Arms

It's been a pretty good summer for hotties at the movies. First, there was Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider Man, then there was Christian Bale and Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises, and next, Clive Owen appeared in Shadow Dancer. But that's not all: this evening I got to see a preview of another Tom Hardy film, Lawless. I had hoped to catch a glimpse of Monsieur Hardy at the Cannes Film Festival this year, but the unclement weather meant I missed out.

Lawless is set in during the Prohibition era in 1930s Virginia. Brothers Forrest (Hardy), Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke) Bondurant have got a great bootlegging business going on, but Special Deputy Charles Rakes (Guy Pearce), who is more than a little crooked, wants a share of their profits. He isn't afraid to use his guns to achieve this, and the brothers must band together to defend themselves and their business. Jack is also trying to win over Bertha, the preacher's daughter (Mia Wasikowska), and to prove to his older brothers that he is as tough as they are. Forrest, meanwhile, gets badly wounded in the crossfire on several occasions and is nursed back to health by Maggie (Jessica Chastain), with whom he enjoys a slow-burning relationship.

Actually, the whole film is a slow burner. The trailer gives you the impression that it's a non-stop action thriller, but although there are a few dramatic shout-out scenes and a fair bit of blood and guts, there isn't a huge amount in the way of plot. Lawless is also quite amusing--Hardy, in particular, has quite a few funny lines, and LaBeouf's character is less of a charisma vaccine than his character in Wall Street: Money Never Sleep. Hardy, with his husky, redneck accent, isn't much more comprehensible than when he played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but he puts in a strong a performance as ever. Pearce is also great as the vain bad guy with the Nazi haircut.

Despite the good performances, I wasn't overly impressed with Lawless. It isn't really my kind of film, and I felt it needed a better storyline or a more engaging script. It was fine for a free preview and I'm always happy to be able to lust over Tom Hardy, but I probably would have been more disappointed if I had paid £12 for my ticket.

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