14.3 C
New York
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Advertisement

Lawless Blu-ray Review

 

 

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) stretches his artistic legs in this John Hillcoat directed film based on a Matt Bondurant novel from rocker Nick Cave’s screenplay. Lawless is ostensibly a historical look back at prohibition era rural Virginia and the infamous Bondurant clan of bootleggers who were hold outs against the push to bring the “hillbillies” into line with the new laws, particularly when the government itself turned corrupt; its hand in the till and on the necks of the traditional moonshiners.

LaBeouf plays Jack, the youngest and weakest of the Bondurants, Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises; Warrior; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; This Means War) is Forrest, the oldest brother who leads the clan and whose story is legend among the country folk, stories of him being immortal known far and wide. The middle brother Howard is played by Jason Clarke who does a good job portraying a boozy, fist-first country boy. As the Bondurant family make their stand against the new dandy lawman, Special Deputy Rakes (Guy Pearce; Prometheus; Lockout; TV’s Mildred Pierce) sent in from Illinois to shut them down, they go about their business of moonshining and also their love lives. Jack finds interest in the virginal and strictly religious daughter (Mia Wasikowska; Albert Nobbs) of a preacher who’s none too happy to have him hanging around her. Meanwhile Forrest finds himself falling for his new saloonkeeper, Maggie (Jessica Chastain; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Texas Killing Fields; The Help; Tree of Life), a beautiful ginger-haired city girl from Chicago. The fight to stay independent of the corrupt government and one step ahead of Rakes while the rest of the community has buckled under the pressure leads them, especially Jack, into business with notorious gangster Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman; The Dark Knight Rises; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The Book of Eli; The Fifth Element), and everything goes well, until Rakes makes a move to kill Forrest and succeeds in killing a close friend of the Bondurants.

The film’s strengths are multitudinous in that its cast is masterfully set. Everyone here, including LaBeouf, put on excellent performances. Tom Hardy places much gravitas behind the role as the mythic Forrest Bondurant, and Guy Pearce is rather demented as the city slicker lawman. It goes without saying that Jessica Chastain is magnificently charming, beautiful, and also quite tender in her interactions with the Hardy’s character. The imagery of country life is also beautifully shot as the sun soaked landscape and verdant vegetation place us right in the warm hillsides and stills where the bootleggers were.

There is where the good ends and flaws begin. As a story based on real events, we are never given a sense that we are watching something about real people. Nick Cave’s screenplay is written in very broad strokes, relying more on the legend and myth that the humanity of the people we are watching. Only once do we get a real sense of something beneath the surface, and its right near the end, when Maggie and Forrest have a rather revealing conversation about the night he was attacked by Rakes’ henchmen. As wonderfully played as it is by Chastain, Cave’s screenplay doesn’t seem to want to allow the characters to dive too deeply into emotion, and he pulls back right before they do.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Lawless was shot in high definition with the Arri Alexa camera. The image has a very film-like appearance and the little video noise present looks natural and organic in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. Contrast is strong, color reproduction is superb offering natural flesh tones, rich midtones, and inky blacks. There’s a lot of textural information in close-ups and in foregrounds as well. Th overall image is clean with no digital anomalies.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is dialogue-driven, but there is a sumptuous amount of atmospheric effects balanced into the surround channels that help make it rather engaging. The sounds of rural Virginia, the roaring of engines, and blasts of shotguns are all effectively mixed around the various channels and there is ample boost from the LFE to make things authoritative.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

A decent slate of high definition production featurettes and featurettes exploring the real Bondurant family are on offer.

The supplements:

  • Feature Commentary with director John Hillcoat & author Matt Bondurant
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:58):
    • 6 Legged Cow
    • Forrest and Tizwell
    • Campfire (Alternate)
    • Howard Tells Forrest that Jack Stole the Moonshine
    • Rakes and Feather
    • Jr. with Brass Knuckles
  • Lawless: The True Story of the Wettest County in the World (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:33)
  • Franklin County, Virginia: Then & Now (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:11)
  • The Story of the Bondurant Family (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:44)
  • “Midnight Run” a music video performed by Willie Nelson (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • DVD
  • iTunes Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The direction and acting performances make for an enjoyable film in Lawless and it allows star Shia LeBeouf to show off his chops outside of Transformers. Still, the film is far from perfect and could have benefited from a stronger screenplay. I’d say rent this one first before buying.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B009369Z8A[/amazon-product]

Purchase Lawless on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


[amazon-product]B009369Z8A[/amazon-product]

Purchase Lawless on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Advertisement

Related Articles

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for the heads up on this film! I didn’t know what the movie was about when it was in theaters, but I did know I wanted to eventually see it for Tom Hardy. I missed it in theaters when it was playing in my area, and I’m not one for purchasing movies out of the gate either, so I’ll definitely be watching this one as a rental; especially in Blu-ray since those don’t cost me anything extra. I don’t think this film releases to DVD until the end of the month either, but I do have the option to add it to the top of my Blockbuster @Home queue through DISH already before it releases. I’ve heard excellent things about the scenery in the movie from some of the gals I work with at DISH too, so I’m definitely excited to see those and Mr. Hardy in such amazing picture quality! :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

300FansLike
0FollowersFollow
725FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

2067 (Blu-ray Review)

With the world deforested and people dying from a deadly disease caused by synthetic oxygen, a quiet tunnel worker receives a message from the future and must save humanity in this uneven but watchable dystopian Aussie indie sci-fi thriller.

The Irishman (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray Review)

Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated (Best Director) late career crime world epic gets the Criterion Collection treatment it deserves.
%d bloggers like this: