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24 February 2013 DVD


The Sopranos with moonshine: welcome to the world of Lawless, the brutal true  story of the Bondurant Brothers – a bunch of bootleggin’ rednecks who made a go of the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. Written by Australian music legend Nick Cave and based on Matt Bondurant’s novel The Wettest County in the World (2008), Lawless explores the fierce loyalty between three brothers (Matt’s grandfather and grand-uncles) as they battle police corruption in yet another gritty opus from Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition, 2005). While the script is straightforward, Hillcoat’s methods of unravelling the story are unpredictable. The performances, too, are astounding: Guy Pearce delivers one of the creepiest villains we’ve seen in a long time, Shia LaBeouf’s naivety is awe-inspiring and Tom Hardy exudes a mumbling but undeniably badass nature. Lawless goes all out to populate its fairly traditional story with compelling characters. Trust a bunch of Australians to make an American crime film, where the bad guys turn out to be all good.

Sean Lynch