- Director: John Hillcoat
- Genre: Adventure, Crime
- Details: US/ 115 / 16
Easily John Hillcoat's most accessible movie so far (his previous efforts The Proposition and The Road found a niche audience), little is sacrificed in the pursuit of a broader crowd as this prohibition-era gangster flick flexes its way through a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Tom Hardy's immense presence is used to stirring effect, while Shia LaBeouf does his best to not be an annoying little shit and sometimes succeeds.
LaBeouf sporadically narrates this fact based tale of three brothers who bootlegged booze during a testing time for America, the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Transformers star is the youngest and generally runtiest of the three siblings, Jack Bondurant. Hardy portrays the seemingly invincible eldest, Forrest, while the imposing Jason Clarke is middle sibling Howard - the enforcer of the family. When corrupt cop Guy Pearce turns up demanding a cut of the profits, the brothers are backed into a corner that can only end violently.
LaBeouf is tasked with easily the most difficult role of the film; he's asked to play a character that doesn't measure up to his elder siblings and initially has small dog syndrome. Hillcoat and scripter Nick Cave do their best to take him on a journey that you just know will end in ponderous reflection, with LaBeouf attacking the role with his usual enthusiasm. He's just difficult to like, and while he does grow on you, you can't help but feel that the film would've worked better had the main focus been on Hardy's tough and fascinatingly complex Forrest.
That's a small flaw in an otherwise hugely entertaining film that really captures the ambience of the time while still making the characters and their exchanges feel as organic as if it were a modern setting. It doesn't play like a film set a generation ago, it just happens to take place in the 30s - so expect it to find a willing younger audience. Hillcoat doesn't skimp on the violence either; this was an extremely brutal era for America and there is more than one scene that may cause more sensitive viewers to wince.
Having missed out for his superb work in the criminally underrated Warrior last year, Tom Hardy should find himself suited and booted on Oscar night, practicing his speech in the mirror. His nomination would most likely be a supporting one, but every scene that he's in, you can't take your eyes off of him. It's another magnetic turn from the Englishman. Pearce is a brilliantly despicable bastard and Clarke suitably gruff. The female characters are certainly given the short end of the stick, and neither Chastain or Wasikowska have a lot to do, but their collective presence does soften the visceral edges of the film when called for. Special mention too must go to Chronicle star Dane DeHaan, who's excellent as Cricket.
LeBeouf may be the name to put bums on seats, but Hardy is the one who'll wow the masses. Thoroughly entertaining and impressively executed.
Review by Mike Sheridan | 17:41 | Friday 7th September 2012 | Movie Review
Thoroughly agree about Shia The Beef. So annoyinh.Posted 19:18 | Tue 28th Aug 2012
Can't wait to see this :)Posted 23:34 | Wed 5th Sep 2012
Cliched derivative drivel. The opening scene is one of the most signposted pieces of crap I've ever seen. And Hardy getting an Oscar nod for this? Yeah okay. That's going to happen. Guy Pearce maybe, but no way Hardy will get one. He's a great actor, but this is a below par performance. Jason Clark is much better.Posted 22:52 | Mon 10th Sep 2012
I was not impressed, I got free tickets from SKYPosted 10:58 | Fri 7th Sep 2012
Good film, though perhaps not as good as The Proposition.Posted 18:53 | Sat 8th Sep 2012
BLOODY boring rubbish - but Guy Pearce creates a memorable character. Shia LeBoeuf is as ever useless; he should be presenting kid's tv, not headlining a major movie. Tom Hardy has a great screen presence but I, for one, can't understand him, mumble mumble...his diction is appalling - sort it out Tom if you want the Bond role. I imagine this remained too faithful to the book, and not enough creative licence employed. Shame - cus the story is yawn out loud. AvoidPosted 16:20 | Wed 12th Sep 2012
Ok so this isn't the worst movie I have ever seen, but its not good and certainly not worth the price of a cinema ticket. I find I'm struggling to describe it as I left the cinema wondering what the hell it was all about. Basically the trailer would leave you to believe it's sort of an action/bonnie and clyde type story but it's far from that. The whole movie can be summed up as - things happen, none of the characters really react or do anything, more time passes and the envitable showdown comes about which is also ridiculous. I felt like climbing into this movie and yelling at everyone what's going on, why is no one doing anything. Guy Pearce is a good actor but the character he plays here is cartoonish beyond belief which takes from his performance. Tom Hardy defintely has a presence and I kind of get what he was trying to do but unfortunately the script doesn't allow him to do much of anything so it's a wasted effort. No one else is worth mentioning as they float around filling in time. Seriously, still don't know why they bothered making this, and as for the trailer mentioning brothers who become outlaws who become heroes A) There is very little of any brotherly love displayed, especially hard to buy LaBeouf and Hardy are even related B)I don't think outlaws stay and live in their family home where anyone can find them, which these guys do and C) Heroes? Can't even attempt to explain that one. Save your money and stay home, only worth a look if was Sunday, it was raining, and you were too hungover to get off your couch. Even then I'm not so sure.............Posted 01:06 | Thu 13th Sep 2012
I really enjoyed this movie, would recommend a watch.Posted 09:27 | Thu 13th Sep 2012
I suppose I'll go to see it as there's NOTHING else onPosted 14:12 | Mon 1st Oct 2012
Fantastic film. GO SEE IT.......and yes, Tom for Oscar. What a performance.....Posted 12:48 | Sun 16th Sep 2012
i loved this movie, best i've seen in a while. tom hardy was outstanding, yes a lot of his dialogue was grunted, but that only made him a more endearing and likeable character. shia le beouf, played the part of the innocent trying to be like his big brothers wonderfully and as for guy pearce he was disgusting, brilliantly played too he got my skin crawling every time he came on the screen. yes there were a few plot points that could have been a bit neater but i thought it was a good one, a fair contention for award seasonPosted 18:50 | Wed 19th Sep 2012
This is a very good film. All the actors step up to the plate for this one, and they really get a change to show off their acting ability, as the story is a real drama, and calls for, and gets great performances all round. Tom Hardy in particular, is outstanding, and his character will live long in the memory. Well worth a watch I think.Posted 01:48 | Sun 16th Sep 2012
Really loved this movie would watch again. Tom hardy is a fantastic actorPosted 19:24 | Fri 28th Sep 2012
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