Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf in Lawless.
The Weinstein Company
Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf in Lawless.


Directed by John Hillcoat.
Written by Nick Cave. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Mia Wasikowska.
Now playing at multiple locations.

Hillcoat does achieve moments that etch into the mind — an attempted assassination which mingles feathery snow and steaming blood, for one — but the narrative often seems odds with the director's pictorialism, trudging when it should be striding towards the climax, isolating the performers on their marks when everything depends on taut blood-ties interconnection. The cumulative effect of the Depression mosaic is, then, less than the sum of its parts, but Lawless does give one clear lesson. Despite the acts of startling violence herein, the mortal sin is vanity — clothes unmake the man. Too often, though, they also upstage him.

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