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.
In the category of things we’re pretty excited about but not that surprised by: Mila Kunis is in negotiations to play leading lady in Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming fuzzy comedy, Ted.
In case you haven’t yet noticed how much the Fox cartoon’s pudgy troubled teen, Meg, sounds remarkably like Jackie Burkhart from That 70’s Show you may live under a rock and you should know that Kunis has been the voice of Meg since season two when the show dumped actress Lacey Chabert. Thus, when MacFarlane was searching for a girlfriend for Ted’s star, Mark Wahlberg, it could have been assumed that Kunis was on the short list. (Although I’m sure her boost in fame thanks to Black Swan doesn’t hurt.)
In addition to Kunis, funny man Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation and the dearly departed Party Down, is in talks to join the cast.
The film follows Wahlberg’s character, who at a young age wished his teddy bear (Seth MacFarlane) would come to life. Fast forward to adulthood, where the bear is still very much alive and has become swarthier than a salty old sailor. Ted keeps Wahlberg from growing up and Kunis seeks solace with her douchey boss, played by Scott.
Scott’s got the comedic chops to play a fantastically sarcastic ass, and MacFarlane’s not exactly new to comedy so I’m sure he’ll use the actor to his advantage. As for Kunis, she’s got huge potential for comedy but her part seems to be a bit of a ragdoll being tossed between the two male characters, so we’ll have to wait to see what MacFarlane does to make her a bit more interesting.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter