*1/2 (out of four)
Formerly called "The Wettest County in the World" and then "The Wettest County," "Lawless" depicts neither a soaked country or a chaotic, lawless society. Oops.
Sure, this Prohibition-era tale, based on Matt Bondurant’s book “The Wettest County in the World,” focuses on real-life brothers (Tom Hardy,
The simplistic softness of these subplots clashes badly with the film's brutal violence. At least the impact of a shotgun to the face or a shovel to the head possesses more weight than a ridiculous shootout in which several people stand around and watch. Everyone else has rather bad aim.
A longer version of the film reportedly exists, which may or may not explain pacing issues that make the first hour an awful bore despite a set of brass knuckles and a knife to the throat. No director's cut, however, will solve the distracting performances by Guy Pearce (as sleazy Special Agent Charlie Rakes) and Noah Taylor (as one of Floyd's henchmen). They pull out what little reality remains in a movie that already embarrassingly fails to illuminate real life.
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