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Don’t Blame It On The Moonshine – Lawless Review

Lawless – Film Review



I’m one of a handful in the 10am audience at Hoyts. No previews screened that I had not previously seen – Dredd:3D, End of Watch, Seven Psychopaths,the third of which might be worth a look.  Ads for multi-coloured housewares, discount curtains and for flavoured milk.  I have no idea what this means, assuming it is meant to be a code for the people they think might be watching*.  Maybe Canberra is full of healthy cheapskates who redecorate.  Whatever.

And the Iron Chef ingredient this morning was bootleg whisky made of pretty well anything that may once have fallen within the vegetable class**.    Franklin County, Virginia, appears as beautiful as Virginia can be.  The Depression is not having so large an effect on people who have pretty well nothing anyway.  Prohibition is failing utterly to do anything useful except redistribute money and get people killed***. Lawless_jpg

Three Bondurant brothers, the eldest reputedly immortal, engaged in the production of the local distilled product.  A tough girl on the run and a highly protected daughter of the local minister provide the love interests for two of the brothers, Forrest and Jack****.  They manage a stable, respectful, cooperative and corrupt relationship with the local law.

Cut to scenes of the carnage in Chicago.  Then the apple cart***** is overturned by changes in the larger world, wanting the rivers of corruption to flow a different way.  As a consequence another, human-sourced, fluid provides a comprehensive red spattering.  A new State Attorney with a Special Deputy who has more charm than scruples or mercy, has.  The feeling is apparent pretty quickly that no-one is playing for a win/win outcome.  The music is exceptional, varied within the types found in the region, and suggests that the soundtrack would be a smart choice for those who don’t fancy the violence.

Oz watchers note.  Guy Pearce as the Bad Cop******.  Mia Wasikowska as the virgin-with-religious-father.  Noah Taylor in a small role.  Nick Cave did the screenplay and gets a music credit.


* You know, the way some of the more bogan end of television is increasingly populated with ads for insurance products (specifically funeral insurance) and few questions asked personal finance.

**Pauses to bite yellow capsicum. Adopt supercilious smile.

***Speaking of which, the SBS series – currently placed just before Boardwalk Empire – is a beauty.

****The other brother, Howard, is a couple of steps above Mongo from Blazing Saddles.  (I saw that Alex Karras, the footballer/actor who played Mongo, died recently without having emulated OJ SImpson’s career).

***** Which would be empty, all the apples having been converted to something resembling calvados or palinka, except that it’s sold in jars like all the bars do now in Melbourne.

****** An inch, or an ounce, more and he’d be channelling every elegant but sadistic Nazi ever seen on screen.  “Acch! Herr Bigglesworth.  We have your friend Algy and plan to have our vicked vay vit him”  etc.  Nothing at all like Jack Irish.


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