Friday 14 September 2012

New film: 'LAWLESS'

I felt some apprehension about going to see this film. It has been described (quite justifiably) as 'extremely violent'. Normally when such a reputation precedes a film it usually takes it to be something especially significant and/or notorious for me to fork out money to satisfy my curiosity. But in this case it was the starry cast, featuring some of my favourite present-day actors, which I couldn't resist.
But what a disappointment in seeing the chamelionic Gary Oldman given star billing when he has barely two minutes of on-screen time. What happened? Did most of his contribution end up on the cutting-room floor? Very good though he was, his part would hardly have been worth a credit as a cameo appearance!
The always-better-than-good Guy Pearce is first class here too, playing cold, heartless and demented right up to the hilt. A truly scary portrayal.
Tom Hardy, fast gaining a reputation as being a significant positive contribution to every film he appears in, didn't let me down either.
On the other side of the reputation scale, Shia LaBoeuf (here, disconcertingly resembling John Cusack now and again) is often dismissed as bland and uninspiring. To give him his due, I thought in this film he was a bit better than that.

The film itself, I found, reasonable enough, though I did have to look away from the screen a few times, being forewarned about certain scenes and my mentally tricking them off on a list.
This story of fraternal boot-legging and their clash with the corrupt law in the American depression period is sufficently absorbing  - and superbly photographed - though I did feel the family tale and a concurrent running romance were rather over-balanced by the several violent scenes. Those audience members who are more inured against the depiction of violence than I am may not have found it so.

When I see a film, on coming out, I ask myself if I regret having spent money, time and effort in having done so. An opinion of 'maybe/maybe not'  earns, predictably, a mark of 5/10. This is definitely on one side of it, though I do think that others may give it a higher score. However, in terms of the degree of my own personal enjoyment, I award 'LAWLESS'  a fairly comfortable ...............6/10.


  1. "Lawless" is playing in my area, unlike "Anna." But this is one movie I have decided not to see, despite Guy Pierce being in it. Loved him as Monty in "Mildred Pierce." Gary Oldman of "Prick Up Your Ears" and "Immortal Beloved" reduced to a couple minutes of screen time! What gives? I'll see the new Ricard Gere movie, "Arbitrage" this weekend. Is that movie in your plans?

    1. If kicking the living daylights out of someone is not your bag, Paul - as well as knuckle-dustering, throat slitting, neck-breaking and tar-and-feathering - you need to give this film a wide berth. Oh, did I not mention a castration?

      On Gary Oldman's first brief appearance I thought "Great! Following his deliberately under-stated roles in 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'Dark Knight' he's now playing a part to which he can give full-throttle!" Alas, he hardly gets the chance. It's a mystery to me.
      The opening credits list him third (or was it even second?) - with "....and Guy Pearce" at the end. It should have been the other way round. It's Pearce, as the principal 'baddie', who merits star billing with his major screen-time as a terrifying, sadistic thug.

      'Mildred Pierce' I didn't see and I can't think why not. Must have been one of the rare ones that got away. Perhaps it came round when I was visiting my sister last year.

      'Arbitrage' I'd never heard of. No talk about when it will open here, but seeing it on the IMDb site I certainly want to see it. Not only Susan Sarandon - but the Tim Roth, all too rarely seen on cinema-screen - with those eyes that do the talking! I shall look out for it.

  2. To Hardy has a certain "magnatism" dont you think?
    a bit like Brando me thinks

    1. Yes, J.G. Tom Hardy certainly has a screen presence. I think his unusual looks, not 'conventionally' attractive (to me, at least) gives him a ruggedness, making him one of the few to whom, when on-screen, all eyes veer towards.