Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lawless, Not Flawless

Rotten Tomatoes is not always right when it rates a film highly, but it is generally right when it doesn't. Lawless is indeed at best 64% of a film (5/10 on my critical scale, though even that might be generous). Roger Ebert described it as the kind of film that has women in it because, well, it's good to have some women in a film. Their roles, in so much as they have roles, simply consist of not being men. They serve no other discernible purpose.

The real problem for me, however, is the role of Guy Pearce. The film is confused about what it is he's actually trying to do as a federal agent, so all we're left with is him doing a random string of despicable deeds to make us hate him. Think Colonel Tavington from The Patriot - a role written solely so that we can see the character get got in the end. That may work for a film that doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't for a film that does.

If it's a story about bootlegging you want, then Homer vs  the Eighteenth Amendment, not Lawless, is the place to go.

ps - There is a scene with a Mennonite pastor chasing Shia LaBoeuf with a burning stick. That tells you everything you need to know.

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