First the good: John Hillcoat, best know for directing The Road, was responsible for one of the best westerns of the last 20 years with The Proposition. Here, he’s taking on an adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s novel “The Wettest County in the World“, about the Bondurant brothers, a family of Depression-era bootleggers in rural Virginia.
The story is partially based on Bondurant’s own family mythology. Plus, the cast of Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska is astounding.
The material of Depression-era bootleggers lends itself quite well to Hillcoat’s western-aesthetic, much like The Road did as well.
Now the bad: it also stars Shia LeBeouf, who looks criminally out of place in this movie. They also changed the name from “The Wettest County in the World,” which is pretty gnarly to the terribly blank Lawless.
It opens August 31.