Rated 3.0

As an amped-up tale of moonshiners in Prohibition-era Virginia, Lawless is part period piece, part twisted action flick. The crossover spirit prevails within the attractive cast as well: Americans (Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain and Dane DeHaan), Brits (Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman) and Aussies (Mia Wasikowska, Jason Clarke and Guy Pearce), all of them playing either backwoods Virginians or Chicago-based interlopers. The bootlegging Bondurant brothers—“invincible” Forrest (Hardy), half-crazed war-vet Howard (Clarke), and baby-faced Jack (LaBoeuf)—are the putative protagonists in this tale, and screenwriter Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat serve it up as a sort of dour outlaw ballad, with Jack narrating a family legend of bootleggers defending themselves against Depression-era poverty and the hypocrisies of Prohibition, as well as big city mobsters and corrupt officials. Initially, Lawless comes on as an earnest, shot-on-location period piece, however, while Hardy’s Forrest, the Bondurants’ shrewd and daunting warrior chieftain, is a reasonably interesting characterization, everyone else in the film is lost to the demands of a slightly rancid sentimentality. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.