Monday, 1 October 2012

Lawless - my very informal view

Lawless is a new gangster-drama by Joan Hillcoat, director most known for The Road and The Proposition and his collaboration with Nick Cave.

Nick Cave wrote a script for this one as well - this time adapting Matt Bondurant's novel.

I haven't read the novel and these kind of films are usually not my cup of tea unless they are more about the drama rather than the time.

Reasons are, well, half of the time it is hard to understand what they are saying. And it's not just me being foreign and stuff. A lot of British people I talked to could not understand completely, of course they did, but not entirely.

Another reason - not being a person who grew up with the notion of this Prohibition era I can hardly sympathise it. When people were starving in the other countries it is hard to think about poor people not having alcohol and it just feels that like everyone was a baddy those times. The trick is to show that they are baddies with a human face or with very strong dramatic reasons for being baddies. Boardwalk Empire really succeeds with that. And Broadwalk Empre creates characters not out of the blew, of course it has hours and hours to show exposition. A feature-length film does not have this luxury and needs to dig into the story.

But still, a lot of the characters in the Lawless I am left not connecting too. Take the "villain" Guy Pearce. Why on earth is he so weird and so violent? What is it in for him? Why is he so persistent. The greatest way was to show that something bad happened to him or that he actually has his truth. But just being the force of evil is not enough. Besides he is not evil if you think of it - they are breaking the law, and he is enforcing it. In terms of a soldier mind, or a perfect cop or samurai - serving the law or master is matters of pride and dignity. In this case Guy Pearce's character's master is the government.

I am sure there are all these reasons in the book. But I found it difficult following it in the film and sympathising characters.

Acting-wise, everyone was amazing. The way the move, talk, creating the reality in the voice, smiles. From little performances of the Cricket guy to stunning Jessica Chastain and super-sincere performance by Shea LaBeouf. I am not going to talk about Tom Hardy. He is one of the best actors in his generation and I hope he is going to take up more roles like this, central and creating reality from scratch.

Technically-wise, it was beautifully shot and edited, great blocking and compositions. I had some problems with cutting in terms of continuity of movements. It was a stylistic choice but at some points it was taking me out of story. But who cares.

My favourite film of John Hillcoat is the The Raod and this hasn't changed after Lawless came out.

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