Rated 2.0

Lawless: I was hoping for a late summer powerhouse that would top off a mediocre season with something to remember. I figured a film with John Hillcoat at the helm and featuring the likes of Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce and Shia LaBeouf couldn’t fail. While it isn’t a complete failure, it is a bit of a letdown. Considering the star power and the director at hand, I was expecting much more than your typical backwoods moonshine thriller. John Hillcoat (The Road) telling the “true story” of the Bondurant brothers, Depression-era bootleggers who stood up to the law, had a great amount of appeal. It makes the mistake of positioning LaBeouf’s youngest brother Jack as the primary character, when his older brothers Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) are far more compelling. LaBeouf isn’t necessarily bad in the role; it’s just that Hardy and Clarke are way better and far more interesting to watch. Guy Pearce overdoes it as the bad guy in a film that ultimately feels empty and misdirected.