“I saw John Hilcoat‘s Lawless this morning — a bootlegging movie about backwoods macho bludgeoning, stabbing, gouging, shooting, throat-slitting, shotgunning and all that good exploitation yeehaw crap,” I wrote on 5.19 from the Cannes Film Festival. “It’s a better acted, more finely photographed and much more violent upgrade of an early ’70s Roger Corman film. So why did they screen it here? It’s a drive-in movie for rednecks, and I’m sitting in Grand Palais on the Cote d’Azur watching this flotsam?
“It’s set in 1931, the height of the Depression, and I guess I wanted something classy and fabled like Phillip Borsos‘ The Grey Fox…no such luck with Hillcoat.
“Tom Hardy plays a time-travelling robot with a hick accent who can’t be killed with a throat-slashing or with two or three shots to the chest…he jes keeps on a’comin.
“As far as I’m concerned Hillcoat is no longer someone to watch. He’s a thick-fingered plebe. The Proposition, for me, was crude, sadistic, high-style hash about amber lighting and grubbily dressed actors whose faces were smeared with chicken grease. The Road, his post-apocalyptic father-son movie, was half-decent but was mostly about compositions filled with grayness and ash and waste of one kind or another. And now this sludge.
“‘Two good things about Lawless,’ I tweeted. ‘(1) Guy Pearce‘s ultra-venal, almost Dracula-like villain, and (2) a nice nude scene featuring Jessica Chastain.'”