There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
A British homicide investigator is planning to ruin William Shatner's 75th birthday celebrations in March by going public with sensational claims about the death of the actor's wife Nerine Kidd.
Peter Rydyn is planning to stage a press conference in Los Angeles on Shatner's birthday, during which he'll ask police to re-open the file on Kidd's apparent suicide after presenting them with new evidence that suggests foul play.
Rydyn claims he has come across new information related to Kidd's 1999 death—and now he's challenging Shatner with damning evidence he hopes will put the Star Trek actor in court.
Kidd's death was listed as an accidental drowning—she was found face down in her swimming pool by her husband upon his return from a business trip.
Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. Her death was ruled an accident due to neck trauma, and an autopsy revealed that she had consumed three times California's legal blood alcohol content for driving.
Rydyn alleges Shatner may have had a hand in his wife's death—a claim the actor is quick to deny—and maintains he holds evidence that will prove the Boston Legal star lied about his whereabouts on the day his wife died.
The Brit says, "I've invited the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) to the press conference on March 22 in the hope that the information I will present will trigger the case.
"I can't go into too much information because I'm waiting to go big with this at the press conference."
To make matters even worse for Shatner, Rydyn plans to stage his press conference from the original Star Trek set, from where the actor commanded the Starship Enterprise. The set is on show at the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles.
Rydyn says, "I wanted to hold this press conference somewhere special and when a friend told me the old Star Trek set is intact I thought it would be the perfect place."
Shatner, who was unaware of the press conference or of Rydyn's investigation, is appalled by the Brit's plans to drag up the past.
The actor's assistant, Chris Carley, says, "I've spoken to Bill about this and he says it's outrageous."
Shatner has refused to comment on whether he plans to attend the press conference or challenge Rydyn's claims.
Shatner's two-year marriage to Kidd was riddled with problems. Their 1997 wedding was postponed after Kidd was arrested for drunk driving.
A month before their first anniversary, Shatner filed for divorce, prompting his wife to check into booze rehab the Betty Ford Clinic. The couple then reconciled.
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