Title: Lawless (2012)
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc / 3 Disc Set
Video: 1080p / AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Run time: 116 minutes
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Coding: Region Free
Shia LaBeouf as Jack Bondurant
Tom Hardy as Forrest Bondurant
Jason Clarke as Howard Bondurant
Guy Pearce as Charlie Rakes
Jessica Chastain as Maggie Beauford
Mia Wasikowska as Bertha Minnix
Dane DeHaan as Cricket Pate
Gary Oldman as Floyd Banner
Directed by John Hillcoat
John Hillcoat has directed a few good films in the last decade, which include The Road and The Proposition, but I honestly believe that Lawless may be his best film yet. From the cinematography, to the acting, to the story itself, everything about this film is just downright interesting.
The year is 1933 with prohibition in full swing since 1920, but that hasn’t stopped the wettest county in the world from making its famous moonshine. The Bondurant brothers, made up of Forrest, Howard, and Jack run the largest moonshine business in Franklin county. They give a cut of their alcohol and money to the local county sheriff and are allowed to carry on their business.
When a Special Deputy Charlie Rakes is called in from Chicago by the local alderman so they can get themselves into the action they are met with a stiff hand from Forrest Bondurant and his brothers. Even though all of the other moonshiners in the county have bowed to his demands the Bondurant refuse to lay down for any man.
What ensues is a personal mission by Charlie Rakes to wipe out everything the Bondurant brothers have made by themselves. However, it’s certainly not going to be as easy as it appears for the city lawman as the Bondurant boys will surely make it one tough sell.
I was enthralled with the film from the onset due to the fact that the viewer really feels like they are in Virginia during the depression. To make it even better the acting is top notch and the script tightly woven. I can’t recommend this title enough especially if you enjoyed Hillcoat’s previous efforts. Due to violence, profanity, and nudity this one is not for children of any age.
Lawless comes to Blu-ray with an extremely pleasing transfer. Colors are well saturated without any problems although they do intentionally appear slightly washed out at times. Flesh tones are mostly accurate, but are sometimes affected by the washed out appearance in some scenes. Fine detail is near perfect as it seems that every whisker and piece of dirt is clearly visible. There is a moderate amount of grain, which can border into noise during a few brief moments during the night sequences, but it’s hardly distracting. This transfer is not perfect, but it is still very good.
Lawless shoots its way onto Blu-ray with an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The film is mostly dialogue is always clear and concise in the center channel even during the film’s more lively scenes. The surrounds are used for various Bluegrass musical cues as well as other effects including passing vehicles, gunfire, and other commotion. The sub comes to life during the film’s gun fights and the weapons certainly do pack a punch. Some may feel this is not a reference mix since it’s mainly a drama, but I personally feel that it’s extremely well done.
Lawless arrives on Blu-ray with a fair assortment of extras. First up is a feature length audio commentary with director Hillcoat and author Matt Bondurant, who wrote the book on which the film is based. Next are six deleted scenes that run about eight minutes. Next up is a 21 minute documentary that explores everything about the wettest county in the world. Next is a brief six minute feature on the history of Franklin County, Virginia. Next is a 12 minute look at the history of the Bondurant family and why Matt wrote the book the way he did. Finally, we are given Willie Nelson’s music video “Midnight Run.” Everything above is presented in 1080p. There is also included DVD and Digital Copy with this Blu-ray.
Final Word: A Must Own