John Hillcoat’s Lawless (2012), written by Nick Cave, is little more than an entertainment, but entertain it does. It’s about backwoods bootleggers during the Prohibition era and unscrupulous law officers who desire a piece of the action. Cave, however, is not much of a screenwriter. Sometimes the script gets flimsy (why do those thugs who cut Tom Hardy’s throat remain for a while on his property instead of fleeing?) and the film is too brutal (Tom Hardy’s character in particular is too brutal). Also, characterization here is poor, although that’s usually the case in this kind of film nowadays.
The look of the film is superb; it’s a transportingly made period piece. There are several strong scenes, such as one in a Mennonite church during a foot-washing.
See Lawless if you wish. It’s highly imperfect, but it does have some merits.