Lawless (18)

 

John Hillcoat's latest yarn of outlaw brothers switches from 19th century Australia (The Proposition) to Prohibition-era Virginia. It's based on the life of bootlegging heroes the Bondurant brothers, who faced off the might of Chicago's law enforcement to supply thirsty folk with their moonshine.

The film is very strong on place – wonderful shots of the hills aglow with the lights of illegal stills – but feeble on plot and plausibility.

Nick Cave's script lurches rather than flows, and in the character of Guy Pearce's lawman, a prissy, whey-faced sadist named Rakes, it's pure grotesque, like something out of Tim Burton.

Less gloomy than The Proposition, it continues Hillcoat's obsession with brutal beatings and sexual violence, to no instructive purpose.

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