Valdosta Daily Times

September 11, 2012

‘Lawless’ brings brutal entertainment

Adann-Kennn Alexxandar
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — “Lawless” (Drama: 1 hour, 56 minutes)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Guy Pearce

Directors: John Hillcoat

Rated: R (Profanity, sexuality, gore, nudity, graphic violence)

Movie Review: Jack Bondurant (LaBeouf) and his brothers, Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), are moonshiners in 1931 Franklin County, Virginia. Life is tough during this time, but the brothers are making good money selling their moonshine to locals. All is well until crooked cops led by Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) wants a share of the Bondurants’ illegal business.

Based on the book “The Wettest County in the World” by Matt Bondurant, this Prohibition-Era tale is based on a true story. It feels very much like a modern Western, except it is set in the east.

The performances are fine. LaBeouf is a cool cucumber as a novice moonshine runner. Clarke and Chastain are good as supporting characters. Hardy and Pearce are superb. Hardy always plays brutish roles with intelligent ease. Pearce steals the show as a crooked cop. Together, they make for a very interesting group.

Audiences should also note this is a very violent movie. Characters commit extremely aggressive acts frequently. This screenplay does this to show the nature of the area where these characters live and how rough times were for the people there.

The violence and the cast work splendidly. Both work as good entertainment for audiences who can handle the brutal manner displayed.    

Grade: B (Lawful entertainment.)


“Celeste & Jesse Forever” (Comedy / Drama: 1 hour, 32 minutes)

Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg and Elijah Wood

Directors: Lee Toland Krieger

Rated: R (Profanity, sexual innuendo, crude humor and drug content)

Movie Review: Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) are best friends but they are a separated married couple. Divorce is pending. They are desperately trying to erase their feelings for each other while trying to move onto other lovers. Their attempt to love others always brings them back to each other.

Forever is a long time, especially when getting over a past lover. Celeste and Jesse are constantly in and out of their relationship to the point they become irritating. Nevertheless, they remain interesting. Their antics never become tedious, despite the arguing.

Jones and Samberg are adorable together, although their behavior is adolescent material. It is easy to see why they like each other and why they broke off their lovely relationship. Still, their on-again, off-again partnering is annoying at times.

When they get where they want to be, it is difficult to be happy for them because they appear very unhappy. Yet this is an effective screenplay because of this. Writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, who also stars in this film, make it easy to indulge Celeste and Jesse’s endearing friendship. Their style is effective, making their characters easy to like.  

Grade: B- (Forever is a lengthy time, but Celeste and Jesse make it interesting.)