Alasdair Stuart writes for Bleeding Cool.
The trailer for Lawless, the new John Hillcoat movie, is here and it's exactly as full of grimy faced men and grungy-nosed violence as you'd expect. There's the same sense of suspended horror, of the second when violence is inevitable but not quite here that his other films have too, but Lawless also has a few surprises up it's sleeve, including a spectacular cast.
Here are ten thoughts about that trailer.
1.Spike Witwicky No More
Shia Lebouef, a name that will send shivers through certain parts of the internet. I've always liked his work, although he seemed to stay on the Transformers movies too long and frankly was getting pretty shrill and hysterical by the end of Dark of the Moon. But underneath the 'NoNoNoNoNoNo!' schtick there's an interesting and genuinely brave actor who is slowly making his way to the surface. His presence here, as the cock little wannabe Torpedo in the family, looks set to give him plenty of chances to stretch his range. Although part of me does sort of want the family pick up truck to turn into a slightly rickety old Autobot. Possibly called Tee.
2.The End of Summer
Look at the colour palate on this thing, it's fascinating. The country vs city clash is clearly happening in the country and at first everything looks green and fresh and healthy. Look closer though and the predominant colour is that yellow plants only ever turn after they're dead. This is the end of the season, the end of summer for at least one side and it'll be interesting to see which. And yes I'm pleasantly surprised I didn't invoke Game of Thrones here too.
3.Tom Hardy, Family Patriarch
I've been a huge fan of Hardy's ever since Star Trek: Nemesis, where he did wonders with a very shaky and, rumour has it, constantly shifting script. He has incredible comedy timing, is completely fearless with his choices and has physical presence to absolutely burn. Look at his turn in Warrior especially, where he shares the screen with professional mixed martial artists and is always the dominant physical presence.
What he's almost never been before though, is quiet, and still, and that's exactly what he is here. The idea of Hardy as a family patriarch, as the voice of reason or at least experience, is one which, like Leboeuf's presence in the movie, implies some pretty interesting narrative choices.
4.The Movie In A Nutshell
The moment where Lebouef's Jack shows up with the money, takes his cut and Hardy's Forrest snarls that he's acting like he's Al Capone sounds a lot like the central thrust of the movie to me. Forrest is a traditionalist, a man who knows his market, Jack is looking to expand that market and gets them all in a world of trouble doing so.
5. The Angry Forehead of Guy Pearce
Guy Pearce is on an absolute tear at the moment, handing in his Snake Plissken audition reel in Lockout, getting far more screen time than he wants to admit in Prometheus and set to play either the main, or one of the main, bad guys in Iron Man 3. He's a busy guy, if you pardon the unintentional and still horrific pun, and this looks like a particularly fun turn by him. Rakes is precise, well tailored, almost reptilian and I have no idea what they've done to his forehead but he looks deeply unsettling. This is the city side of the war, and it's one which is as ugly as it is well manicured.
6.Tom Hardy, Punching Bag
Hardy's got no problem with physical roles, Warrior and Brosnan especially prove that and Lawless look set to play with that reputation a little. That's definitely Hardy dismantling a group of men at one point, and wearing a very fetching cardigan whilst doing so, but there's at least one other moment where he seems far less lucky. It's Hardy who's being held in place whilst a knife is being moved towards his eyes and it may well be hard that Guy Pearce's Charley Rakes is either kicking, or shooting, in the side of the head in a later scene,
7.The Oldman and Hardy Show
This is, what, the third time these two have worked together in two years? Hardy is, in many ways, his generation's Oldman, an actor completely at home both physically and mentally within the demands of a role and comfortable with a level of physical intensity very few others are. They're also both, weirdly, spectacularly good comic actors but I suspect there aren't going to be a lot of laughs on display here. Instead, you have Oldman as an almost Mephistopholean figure, leading Lebouef away from the family fold and starting all the trouble.
8.The City and The Dust
The two images which really jumped out at me are almost stills; the first is the establishing shot of the city, hunched and wreathed in smoke before we meet Rakes and the second is the shot of the dust storm suspended over the town. Huge events with tiny, brutal human stories acted out in their shadow and, like the idea of this being a film set at the turn of the season, both symbols of change. That in turn keys into the idea very few, if any, of this cast are safe. All bets are off when money and booze are involved.
9.Gary Oldman, Deathbringer
You don't really notice the lack of gunfire in the trailer until you see Oldman uncork with that Thompson. This, I suspect, is one of the pivotal moments of the film; look at the uncomprehending terror on Leboeuf's face, and the brazen way that the attack is carried out. Again, the iconography is here, the city is at war with the country and the city gangstrers have done the only thing they were ever going to do; industrialised violence.
10.Doing the Sean Bean Two Step
That shot of Lebouef standing over a grave does look rather portentous doesn't it? The most likely candidate for who's being buried is Hardy. After all, we not only see him in serious trouble at least once earlier in the trailer, it also makes a ton of narrative sense for him to be killed as a result of Lebouef's actions and Lebouef to take horrendous, probably shotgun related judging by the trailer, vengeance and become a man in doing so.
Lawless is scheduled for release on August 31st. Stock up on your cardigans and moonshine to avoid disappointment.