Reviews are in regarding Shia Labeouf’s latest big-screen venture. Lawless, a film based on the true story of the Bondurant Brothers, bootleggers and gangsters during the Prohibition era, is getting mixed reviews with a 65% total approval at Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews aren’t exactly polarized. Most critics fit Lawless into a good-but-not-great category.
Lawless does currently boast an 83% audience approval rating, but critics of the film were less than taken with it. Dana Stevens of Slate loved the period setting and the great cast, though complained about seeing too much Shia LaBeouf. “Lawless never quite attains the mythic grandeur it seeks” concluding that the end result is “overstuffed” and “underbaked.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone agrees, with some reservation. He says that Lawless boasts a “dynamite cast” under acclaimed director John Hillcoat, saying, “you assume a new classic. What you get is an ambitious try.” Still, compared to other movies this summer, “you could do worse.”
Sean Meyers of the Salt Lake Tribune gave probably the most flattering review, saying, “If you don’t get drunk off the moonshine flowing through Lawless, you’re likely to feel a bit light-headed breathing in the atmosphere of director Jeff Hillcoat’s engaging period drama,” saying that the film effectively “draws out the compelling characters in this blood-soaked slice of American history.”
Much of the film’s praise is being heaped upon Guy Pearce for his villainous turn as Chicago lawman Charlie Rakes. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle complimented Pearce, saying that his performance “becomes the film’s most memorable turn.”
Here’s the trailer for Lawless just in case you still haven’t seen it yet and are curious about it: